• Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, 174th Infantry Brigade commander, hands off the unit flag to Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Coler, the brigade senior non-commissioned officer and custodian of the colors, during the passing of the colors part of the unit change of command ceremony, Dec. 6 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Alston)

    Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, 174th Infantry...

    Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, 174th Infantry Brigade commander, hands off the unit flag to Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Coler, the brigade senior non-commissioned officer and custodian of the colors, during the passing of the colors part of the unit change...

  • More than 250 Soldiers and leaders of the 174th Infantry Brigade participated in a traditional change of command ceremony, Dec. 6 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Alston)

    More than 250 Soldiers and leaders of the 174th...

    More than 250 Soldiers and leaders of the 174th Infantry Brigade participated in a traditional change of command ceremony, Dec. 6 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Alston)

  • Col. Craig A. Osborne, outgoing commander of the 174th Infantry Brigade and Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, new Patriot commander, share a moment during the change of command ceremony rehearsal, Dec. 5. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Alston)

    Col. Craig A. Osborne, outgoing commander of...

    Col. Craig A. Osborne, outgoing commander of the 174th Infantry Brigade and Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, new Patriot commander, share a moment during the change of command ceremony rehearsal, Dec. 5. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Alston)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --Each level of command will always have a lesson learned. For the outgoing commander of the 174th Infantry Brigade, Col. Craig A. Osborne, the Patriot command was about people.

"This assignment wasn't about tactics and procedures as much as it was about people," said Osborne. "I learned the most about people here, what motivates individuals, and different leadership styles."

After 29-months in command Osborne handed the Patriot brigade reins over to incoming commander, Col. Michael E. Wawrzyniak, Dec 6, during a traditional change of command ceremony.

"Change is good. It breathes new life into an organization," said Osborne during his final brigade town hall as commander of the 174th Infantry Brigade, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Hosted by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bailey, commander, First Army Division East, both Osborne and Wawrzyniak participated in the historic passing of the brigade colors in front of more than 250 Patriot Soldiers in formation. The colors, or unit flag, represents the brigade. Its passing signifies the exchange of trust and well-being of the command from one commander to another.

"In my assessment, this brigade has made significant progress over the last two years, and that is a testament to Col. Osborne's investment in leader development. And moreover, his dedication to the training mission is the hallmark of his work and cornerstone of success here," expressed Bailey during his address to the crowd.

During Osborne's tenure more than 10,000 troops mobilized, trained, and deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. in support on overseas contingency operations.

"My most significant achievement is that every one of the 10,144 mobilized service members trained here since July 19, 2011, returned home safely," remarked Osborne.

The theme of Osborne's farewell speech, and essentially his time as Patriot brigade commander, was 'people.'

"It isn't the building, the guideons or colors -- it is the people that are the brigade," said Osborne. "And each of you is what makes our brigade -- our mission -- successful. It is you I will miss the most."

Osborne shared his command philosophy for mission success when he arrived in the summer of 2011. Depicted as a structure reminiscent of the Parthenon, to him, mission success is built on a foundation of people and culture and from there stretch the pillars of leading, training, sustaining, and caring.

Osborne and his wife Lois are scheduled to report to their next assignment later this month in Stuttgart, Germany where Osborne will serve as Chief of Plans for United States European Command.

Wawrzyniak, who recently completed the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., assumes command with a wealth of experience. Among his former assignments are deputy professor of Military Science at Syracuse University, and later professor of Military Science at the University of Notre Dame.

From June 2008 to November 2010, he commanded 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 82nd Airborne Division. Under his leadership, the squadron prepared for and deployed to Farah Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X. After command, he completed a joint tour at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium, serving as an assistant operations officer and as executive officer to the chief of operations and Intelligence.

"There is no better match for the brigade. He will challenge you to grow, to lead, for the betterment of the brigade," said Osborne about his successor.

Wawrzyniak is no stranger to First Army. He served as both comptroller, Joint Task Force -- First
Army East Headquarters and later as executive officer to the deputy commanding general of First Army.

"Colonel Wawrzyniak is the best new fit for this outfit," said Bailey. "He is an adaptive, flexible, competent leader ready to take on the mission."

Wawrzyniak is joined by his wife of 20 years, Pam, and their two children.

In coordination with Joint Base and mission partners, 174th Infantry Brigade executes and certifies individual and collective training in accordance with theater-specific standards at JB MDL, N.J., for designated service members to prepare them for deployment in support of overseas contingency operations. On order, 174 supports Army Reserve and National Guard forces generate improved readiness within the Reserve component.

Page last updated Wed December 11th, 2013 at 00:00