Dunbar takes command of 598th Transportation Brigade
August 8, 2014
SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany (Aug. 8, 2014) -- Col. Layton G. Dunbar Jr. took command of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 598th Transportation Brigade in a change of command ceremony at the installation's Community Activity Center Thursday.
Dunbar assumed command from Col. Matthew D. Redding, who served as the 598th Transportation Brigade commander from Aug. 23, 2012 to Aug. 7, 2014, in a ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Susan A. Davidson, SDDC commanding general.
During her remarks, Davidson outlined the critical, but often unseen role the 598th Transportation Brigade plays in the nation's defense.
"I'm very grateful to have had [Redding] in command here at a time when many challenges demanded nothing less than excellence, experience and adaptability from a leader," she said. "He came in at a time when the brigade was to relocate to Germany from Rotterdam. No easy feat, especially while managing the mission without missing a beat to include overseeing a split-base operation for nearly eight months during the transition -- a testament to his dedication and stewardship.
"Even though [Redding] is leaving, the challenges of this brigade are not. [Dunbar] is the perfect selection to step into this command. He too understands the importance of supporting the warfighter. He also understands what it takes to create and sustain that support. I'm confident [he] is ready to take on the current challenges as well as the ones that lie ahead."
During his farewell remarks, Redding thanked the distinguished guests, civilian and military, for attending the ceremony and the brigade members -- Soldiers, Civilians and local nationals -- for everything they do to accomplish the mission.
"We proudly say each day in [SDDC] we 'Deliver Trust', well here in the 598th we deliver more," Redding said. "With 85 percent of all Department of Defense cargo flowing by sea, I take great pride every day in the accomplishments of this brigade."
He also thanked his family for their unwavering support, not only during his tenure as the 598th Transportation Brigade commander, but during his career.
"I am so proud of [my family] for who they have become," he said. "I know that having a Soldier in the family is not easy and I will continue to rely on their strength in the years to come," he said.
Dunbar began his remarks by thanking the 39th Transportation Battalion's Color Guard for their professionalism and for supporting the change of command. He also thanked the U.S. Air Force's Wings Aloft Woodwind Quintet for providing the music for the day's events and joked with them about not playing the U.S. Air Force song during the Army ceremony.
"I'd like to thank [Col. and Kristen Redding] for helping us as we made this transition," he said. "You've left a tremendous legacy leading our organization through a period of transition not only in this command but in SDDC as well. I truly look forward to the challenges right around the corner as you've set us up for success in upcoming exercises, ongoing operations and routine distribution support across the theater."
"To my family, thanks for all of your support over the years," Dunbar said. "Not only your support of me, but the support of our newest families as you've always done. To the Soldiers, civilians and local national teammates across Europe, you bring a wealth of experience and professionalism to our units and I know we'll continue our unparalleled support to our nation, U.S. forces, allies and partners. Kate and I look forward to serving all of you over the next couple of years."
Dunbar was commissioned in the Army from the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and began his career as a rifle platoon leader in the 6th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Upon completion of his detail to the Infantry, he was transferred to the Transportation Corps. Prior to assuming command of the 598th Transportation Brigade, Dunbar was the chief of the Distribution Management Center, 21st Theater Sustainment Command at Panzer Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Redding, his wife Kristen and their two children, Alex and Gracie, will not be moving far from the 598th Transportation Brigade team. His next assignment is as the chief of staff for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
Among the many civilian and military distinguished guests in attendance were Bürgermeister (mayor) Rudolf Jacob of Winnweiler, Germany; Bürgermeister Andreas Alter and his wife Birgit of Enkenbach-Alsenborn, Germany; Maj. Gen. John O'Conner, commander, 21st Theater Sustainment Command; Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades, commander sergeant major, 21st Theater Sustainment Command; and Command Sgt. Maj. Cedric Thomas, command sergeant major, SDDC.
Following the ceremony, there was reception to introduce the brigade and the many guests to Col. Dunbar, his wife Kate and their son Sean. Dunbar's other son, Specialist Andrew Dunbar, is a medic with the 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team currently stationed at Fort Wainwright, his father's first duty location.