Former Big Red One officer assumes control of division
April 22, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - The task of leading the 1st Infantry Division was transferred to Maj. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks April 15 during an assumption of command ceremony at Cavalry Parade Field.
More than 700 Soldiers representing each 1st Inf. Div. subordinate unit were assembled as Brooks assumed command of the "Big Red One" from Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins.
Brooks, whose service has spanned 29 years and includes positions as the chief of Army Public Affairs, acting commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division and deputy commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, stated that he was proud to return to the Big Red One, where he learned his leadership skills as a young company commander during the Cold War.
Brooks' first sergeant and battalion commander during his time with the 1st Inf. Div. in Germany were in attendance at the ceremony.
"That is the spirit of the Big Red One," Brooks said. "It's a spirit of comradeship that never fades, and that is what excites me about rejoining this division."
Wiggins, who served as acting commander of the Big Red One for nine months, will be assigned as the deputy commanding general, Fifth U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. During the remarks given after the passing of the colors, Wiggins expressed pride in the bonds of friendship between Fort Riley and its neighbors.
"A lot of people ask me what makes Fort Riley so unique," Wiggins said. "Although it's difficult to actually capture in written word or a speech, it is simply the people. The genuine love and support this post enjoys with the state of Kansas and its local communities is unparalleled."
The assumption of command ceremony highlighted the storied histories of the U.S. Army, Fort Riley and the 1st Inf. Div. "Old Thunder," a Revolutionary War replica cannon shook the ground with its blast, starting the ceremony off with a boom. Gen. Charles Campbell, U.S. Forces Command commanding general, joined Wiggins and 1st Inf. Div. Chief of Staff Col. Ricky Gibbs on an M-3 half-track vehicle to inspect the troops.
After a pass in review of the Soldiers on the field, The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard finished off the ceremony with guns blazing during a cavalry charge, welcoming in the new commander and bidding farewell to the former commander.
"It has been a distinct honor and a privilege to have served alongside each and every one of you," said Wiggins. "An honor I will forever cherish."