Holman relinquishes command of military police unit at Fort McHenry ceremony
May 5, 2014
BALTIMORE -- On the 200th Anniversary Year of the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry, the Army Reserve's 200th Military Police Command started a new chapter during a relinquishment-of-command ceremony on May 4, 2014.
At the helm of one of the largest Army Reserve major command with more than 14,000 Soldiers in 44 states, Maj. Gen. Sanford Holman spent his last hours in command surrounded by the large cannons that defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British Navy in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812, and Francis Scott Key was inspired to write, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Lt. Gen. Jeffery Talley, Chief of Army Reserve, commanding general U.S. Army Reserve Command, accepted the 200th MPCOM Colors from Holman and passed them to the deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. Phillip Churn.
Talley said Holman is well prepared for his next assignment as a special adviser to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs).
"Indeed his distinguished service should come to no surprise for anyone familiar with General Holman and his family," Talley said. "Under General Holman's command, the 200th MP Command has deployed to ever corner of the world in support of global operations and displayed a high level of readiness and getting the mission done at all costs."
He said Holman leaves a highly trained and professional organization capable of supporting the active Army, Army Reserve and joint forces.
"That's what the Army Reserve is all about," Talley said.
Holman, who grew up in Gary, Ind., thanked those who contributed to his career, including his classmates at the U.S. Military Academy, where he was commissioned and the senior enlisted Soldiers throughout his career.
He focused on the sacrifices and importance of Army Reserve Soldiers, whom he hailed as "twice the citizens" for their contributions to their families, communities and nation.
Holman said the command's motto, "Champions of Character" is extremely important to the 200th MPCOM.
"As the largest law enforcement organization in the DoD, and perhaps the world, we are not just the back up for the Army, but the joint force," Holman said. "We must not fail, and I know we will not fail."
Holman said his faith in the 200th MPCOM has been validated thousands of times during the past three years.
He told Churn, that operations move at the speed of trust.
"I recommend you keep the faith," he said to Churn.
Those contributions are enduring characteristics of the American spirit, Holman said. He pointed to Key, who penned the poem that eventually became the anthem to which millions of Soldiers past and present have rendered salutes to honor their nation and its flag.
Although he recognized the noble goals of military service, Holman also stressed the importance of family, thanking his wife, Roxie, for her support in his Army Reserve career. He dubbed her "a battle buddy in life" who did the hard work at home so he could take care of Soldiers.
Holman was commissioned in 1978. After a four-year stint on active duty as an infantry officer in Korea and Germany, he joined the Army Reserve, where he has served in ever-increasing levels of leadership, including the 200th MPCOM.
The 200th MPCOM's new commander, Churn, won't be far from home in his new assignment. A native of Washington, D.C., Churn graduated from Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1983, and was commissioned as a field artillery officer.
During the hour-long ceremony, Churn told Holman that his mentoring and coaching was essential to success.
"I am internally grateful to you," Churn said. "I could not ask for a better mentor for me during this process as a general officer. I am indebted to you sir -- thank you very much."
Churn said the 200th MPCOM Soldiers were the best-trained and resourced formations in the Army Reserve.
"You have chartered a course for this command, sir," Churn said. "Your Soldiers stand as your legacy."
Churn said the command will continue to perform about the line and execute missions with precision.
"No course corrections. No change in azimuths," he said. "We will continue to move out."