ADA colors uncased at Fort Sill
June 30, 2009
By Kevin Young
FORT SILL, Okla. (June 30, 2009) -- Ceremonies at Fort Sill Tuesday, officially uncased the Air Defense Artillery Center colors and established the ADA School and its commandant as part of the Fires Center of Excellence.
In December 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Committee ordered the Army to move the Air Defense Artillery School and Center from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill. Other schools will merge under BRAC, including the Armor and Infantry Schools into the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ADA School complex at Fort Sill was held in the new ADA School building. Brig. Gen. Roger F. Mathews, who earlier in the day became the chief of the ADA and commandant of the ADA School in a change of responsibility ceremony with Maj. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg at McNair Hall, was the keynote speaker during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The morning ceremony also included uncasing of the colors of the 6th ADA Brigade and its subordinate training battalions, the ADA training brigade similar to the 434th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill.
In his comments at the transfer of authority ceremony, Bromberg challenged Mathews and the rest of the ADA community to finish the transition to Fort Sill.
"The physical piece and the mental piece have been done in some regard, but you and your team now have a lot of work to do to take this opportunity and help build this Fires Center for greater capability for our nation," Bromberg said to the large audience.
As keynote speaker at the afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mathews focused on the new ADA School complex.
"I look at this facility right now and I couldn't be more proud of it and to be a part of the greater Lawton community," Mathews said in his speech. "It's a big day, and today marks chapter two for a new change in bringing together capability here on Fort Sill.
"Although the work still is ongoing, most of the facilities are getting ready for classes. Clearly, our students are going to have now the finest classroom instruction and facilities available in any kind of installation I'm familiar with. If you look back at what we had at Fort Bliss, they were great facilities but they were spread across the entire post. Now, they're right here, consolidated, for students, for our officers, for our Soldiers and civilian team mates."
Mathews pointed out that the new school complex is first class.
"I had an opportunity to walk through all the facilities about two or three weeks ago during the commander's conference and it's breath-taking," Mathews said. "You walk in and see it's done smart. They sent architects that went to Fort Bliss, laid out the functionalities that had to occur and they came back and thought through how do you put it together so that you produce a war-fighting capability without wasting Soldiers' time, students' time and so forth."
Mathews said the main school building holds over 30 classrooms and more than 1,000 Soldiers can be trained at a time - a far cry from two-room building 452 on the Post Quadrangle that served as the original Field Artillery School at Fort Sill when the school came to post in 1911.
The cutting of ribbons wrapped around mounted photographs of the new buildings in the complex, was handled by Command Sgt. Maj. Lee G. Handy, Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Lewis, Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Telley, Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Smith, Sgt. Maj. Scott Wilmount, Sgt. Maj. Thomas Eagen, 1st Sgt. Christopher Cook, 1st Sgt. Christopher Moore, Staff Sgt. John Reich, Staff Sgt. Edward Johnson, Staff Sgt. Marshall Eudey, Staff Sgt. Mandrill Demps, Staff Sgt. David Wheatley, Staff Sgt. Timothy Goodman, Staff Sgt. Chris Cooper and Staff Sgt. Greenland Jones.
The commander of the 6th ADA Brigade, parent unit of Soldiers training at the school, Col. Donald G. Fryc, told the crowd he was excited by the ceremony during his remarks.
"It's a very rare opportunity to see vision meet reality head on," Fryc said, "and really that's what we're witnessing and being a part of here today is the vision of some great Army leaders, civilians, contractors who put their heads together and decided to do the right thing."
Fryc emphasized that the construction of the new ADA complex demonstrates the national will to support its Soldiers during an extended time of war.
The new ADA School and Center occupies a campus of 14 renovated and 11 new buildings in the heart of Fort Sill.