18th Fires Brigade Begins New Chapter
June 13, 2013
The 82nd Airborne Division's 18th Fires Brigade (ABN) held a change of command ceremony at Fort Bragg's Pike Field June 13.
Col. Robert D. Morschauser relinquished command of the bde. to Col. Stephen G. Smith. Smith, a native of Atlanta, Ga. became the 18th commander in bde. history.
Morschauser led the unit through a large scale transformation during the past 24 months. During more than a decade of continuous deployments, Fort Bragg's senior Field Artillery headquarters primarily "in-lieu of missions". The primary training focus during Morschauser's tenure was to bring the core competencies of Field Artillery back into practice.
Over the past two years the bde. conducted 11 bde.-level field training exercises, participated in six Joint Operational Access Exercises, fired over 10 thousand high explosive rounds and conducted the first blended training exercise at Fort Bragg's Mission Training Complex. All of this paved the way for the 18th Fires Bde. to solidify its place in the 82nd Airborne Division and provide a strategic advantage to the Global Response Force mission.
[Smith] has served in all the positions of a Fires professional and was handpicked to lead this organization, said Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., 82nd Airborne Division commander.
For Smith, this assignment marks a return to his roots. He previously served in 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment as the battalion Adjutant, 4th Brigade Combat Team executive officer and on the division staff as the assistant fire support coordinator. COL Smith is married to the former Lynn Gatson of Atlanta, GA. They have three children Ashlyn, 18, Meghan, 13, and Stephen Jr., 12.
Marlene Morschauser received the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for her dedication and support to the brigade.
Morschauser will remain on Fort Bragg, where he will serve as the 82nd Airborne Division Chief of Staff.
"To be afforded the opportunity to command the American Soldier is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed on an officer. Being afforded the chance to lead the American paratrooper is by far the pinnacle," Col. Morschauser, said.