Pierce takes command of 197th Infantry Brigade
June 19, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 19, 2013) -- Lt. Col. Joseph Pierce assumed command of the 197th Infantry Brigade from Col. Michael Rauhut at a change of command ceremony June 13 at Doughboy Stadium.
"I would say welcome to 197 but you're already familiar with it," said Brig. Gen. David Haight, reviewing officer. "Pierce has been serving as deputy commander since 2012 and today we pass the responsibility of command on to him."
Haight said Pierce holds almost 20 years of experience in uniform and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge both stateside and in theater.
Pierce said he looked forward to the challenges ahead.
"I am humbled by this opportunity and honored to serve in a brigade of such a historic capacity filled with professional Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians," Pierce said. "Together we cannot fail."
Pierce was commissioned as an Infantry second lieutenant upon his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1994. His first assignment was at Fort Campbell, Ky., and has since served around the world in both command and staff positions.
"It's an exciting day for me, but more importantly, it's an exciting day for 197th Infantry Brigade," Pierce said.
"We're at a good time continuing to train Soldiers, continuing to support the mission and continuing to deploy Soldiers to Afghanistan and other places around the world."
Rauhut, outgoing commander, thanked several of his mentors as well as the staff, directorates, garrison, brigade command teams and battalion command teams for "being such good teammates and having a can-do attitude."
He also thanked Soldiers of the 197th Infantry Brigade for serving as an example to his wife, Sandy, and their two children.
"To the Soldiers, civilians and Families of the 'Forever Forward' brigade, for two years, you have inspired me with your willingness to pursue personal and professional excellence," Rauhut said. "Sandy, Hannah, Jacob and I draw strength from your example. Your quiet professionalism and dedication to our mission, each other and others in our community reflect the strength of our Army."
Haight said as the 197th Infantry Brigade undergoes major reorganization to realign their functional brigades to support the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Rauhut had already began guiding the brigade under the transition and he felt confidence in Pierce's ability to continue the mission.
"It's a large job, but it's one that Col. Rauhut has commanded with great success," Haight said. "He's been a key player in helping improve combat effectiveness and Army training in experimentation initiatives that include active evaluation of more than 20 systems."
Rauhut acknowledged the many Soldiers, who he described as the continuance of a long legacy of professionalism and sacrifice.
"It's an honor to conduct the ceremony in Doughboy Stadium, a field financed and built by Soldiers as a memorial to comrades killed in the first World War." Rauhut said. "The Soldiers standing before us continue to build that legacy of selfless service, sacrifice and professional excellence as they train and educate the maneuver Soldiers leaders to fight and win our nation's wars."
Rauhut's next assignment is in Afghanistan.