Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Change of Command Ceremony

Last Friday, my Family and I participated in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division change of command on Fort Hood, Texas.  Hubby became the battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment and joined a wonderful group of "Red Dragon" Soldiers and Families.  It's a dream come true for us ... one of those things you hope in the back of your mind you'll get to do one day, but know realistically that the chances are slim you'll get to do it.

When I first saw his name on 'the list' that the Army publishes, I was elated for him.  No one knows more than I do his passion for the Army and for the Soldiers in it.  He is a wonderful leader and cares so much.  We both knew that this would be the adventure of a lifetime.  We explained this new job to our two boys (ages ten and six) as best we could and they kept saying, "We'll have 500 new friends on Friday!" as their summary of the discussion.  =)

The ceremony was amazing, a standing tribute to the well-established and very impressive traditions of the Cavalry ... including an entrance on horseback, cannon shots, the Cavalry charge complete with guns firing and covered wagon pulled by mules, and the traditional changing of the battalion colors from the outgoing commander to the incoming one.

If you've never seen a Cavalry change of command, here are some highlights:

Red roses are brought in to say "Farewell" to all of the outgoing commander's spouses.  Yellow roses are then presented to all of the incoming commander's spouses to say "Welcome" to the unit.

After the Artillery cannon salute, one of the emptied rounds is presented to the outgoing brigade commander by one of the Field Artillery Soldiers.

Then, each unit changes commanders with the "Guidon" ceremony.  The battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM) holds the 'colors' (flag) of the unit, representing all of the Soldiers of the unit.  He then passes the colors to the outgoing commander.  The outgoing commander passes the colors to the brigade commander, signifying the end of his responsibility and leadership in the unit.

The brigade commander passes the colors to the incoming commander, signifying that the responsibility of the unit now rests with the new commander.

The new commander of the unit then passes the colors back to the Command Sergeant Major, showing a complete transfer of authority from one commander to the next and signifying the partnership between the new commander and the CSM.

After each unit has completed their change of command, the outgoing commanders mount the horses that the incoming commanders rode into the ceremony, and are led off of the ceremony field.

The new commanders take their positions in front of their units, then conduct a "Pass in Review" where all the troops march in formation in front of the reviewing stand.  In the photo below, my (super cute!) husband leads his unit across the field.

I'll have to save the reception stories for another post, but I was so impressed with the traditions of the Army and of the 1st Cavalry Division, I really wanted to share them here.  We are so excited and so proud to be a part of the amazing Army Family, the Fort Hood community, the "Black Jack" brigade, and the 3-82 Field Artillery "Red Dragons!"

Here is the Fort Hood article about the ceremony:  New 'Black Jack' Command Team Focused on Basics


  1. Awesome! That's what I miss about Hood. Congrats to your husband and you!

  2. Wow! Thats really cool! I have never been to any kind of military ceremony. But I have a few coming up! ;) Congrats you you guys!

  3. Thank you! They really know how to put on a show here, that's for sure! =)

  4. I love all the pictures! Congrats to you and your husband!!! Enjoy this new journey :)

  5. Congratulations to your hubby and your family! Hubby was in the 3rd Cav at Fort Carson from 1998 to 2002. They were very big on ceremony and tradition. Many were quite interesting and neat! I was fortunate to take part in the ceremony that welcomed spouses into the Order of the Yellow Garter. :-)


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