3-410 EN BN, 402nd FA welcomes new commander
June 24, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas - Lt. Col. Ted Yates assumed leadership of the 3rd Battalion, 410th Regiment, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West in a change of command ceremony June 13 at the Trading Post here.
Yates assumed command from Lt. Col. Juan Saldivar, who will move to an assignment with U.S. Army Southern Command in Florida.
At the ceremony, Col. Carolyn Birchfield, 402nd FA BDE commander praised Saldivar for his many accomplishments while in command.
She said that Saldivar was responsible for moving the unit from Fort Knox, Ky., and transforming it from a training battalion to an operations battalion. He established a functional Mobilization and Demobilization Operations Center to provide mission command for the thousands of Soldiers deploying/redeploying through Fort Bliss.
In addition, Birchfield said, Saldivar was responsible for personally advising and mentoring the commanders of newly formed Afghan national army units and had a direct impact on the integration, equipping and training of over 1400 ANA Soldiers.
"Juan, you are the heart and soul of this great battalion. Thank you for your boundless energy and intense desire to make this the best MTC in the U.S. Army. The battalion is tough, aggressive, unrelenting and always focused on our priorities," Birchfield said. "When hope, expectation, and reality collide…what a powerful effect it has on a formation. Regardless of the metric used, the Soldiers of this great battalion are the best this country has to offer because of your leadership."
Saldivar spoke next that the Thunder Battalion has accomplished so much since the transformation.
"It wasn't always fun, it certainly was demanding, but it always was rewarding and always worthwhile," he said.
He told the Soldiers not to worry, and that he was leaving them in the capable hands of Yates.
"But know in my heart you will always be my Soldiers. As engineers, you signed up to carry a weapon and to be sappers first. Yet you stepped out of your comfort zone and took on jobs you were not trained to do with far reaching expectations," Saldivar said. "But you owned it, you did it without complaint, and you did it as well as anyone could have expected. I'm proud of each and every one of you."
Birchfield also welcomed the incoming commander, letting him know that the Thunder Battalion is "an integral part of a larger team, committed to and focused on our nation's warfighters who are deploying and soon to be serving in harm's way."
"You bring a unique skill set and your deployment experience will serve to be invaluable. Today, I know that you will accept without reservation, the responsibilities inherent in your position as the commander of the great Thunder Battalion," she continued. "I envy you as you look across at the Soldiers of the 'great Thunder Battalion' and hope that your time with them is as personally rewarding as mine has been up to this point."
Yates thanked Saldivar and his wife for their support and for making the transition to command painless.
"After hearing of your many accomplishments, I believe you have served the Soldiers and Families of Thunder Battalion well. You certainly will be a tough act to follow," Yates said. "In the spirit of the time-honored tradition of every outgoing commander, I know you're really thinking, 'just don't screw it up.' I'll do my absolute best not to do that. I promise to give my best efforts every day. I appreciate the opportunity to command this talented group of people."
The 3rd Battalion, 410th Regiment was constituted in 1921 in the Organized Reserves as the 410th Infantry assigned to the 103rd Infantry Division with headquarters at Roswell, N.M.
The unit was ordered into active military service from 1942 to 1945. Reorganized several times after that, the unit was redesignated as the 410th Regiment, and reorganized to consist of three battalions under the 85th Division (Training).