USAG-HI welcomes its new commander
June 21, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Soldiers, family members and government civilians, along with local civic and Native Hawaiian leaders, gathered on Sills Field, here, Monday, to bid aloha to Col. Matthew Margotta, outgoing commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and to welcome Col. Douglas Mulbury, incoming commander.
The ceremony's reviewing officer, Debra Zedalis, director, Installation Management Command-Pacific, remarked that each garrison within IMCOM-Pacific was represented at the ceremony.
Representatives from city and community organizations were also present.
"This speaks to the regard that is held for Col. Margotta, his family, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and the Army," Zedalis said. "It's important to stop and reflect on Matt's impact on our lives.
"Three qualities immediately come to mind," Zedalis continued, "his passion, his commitment and his caring.
"Matt's passion for command is reflected in the successes of this garrison," Zedalis said. "Most importantly, it's reflected in the garrison team he led and nurtured.
"I can't tell you how many e-mails we receive from commanders who praise Matt and this garrison for the great support they provided in deploying or redeploying," Zedalis said.
Margotta remarked that his team accomplished two goals he had set for the garrison at the start of his command. The first goal was to improve the quality of life for Soldiers, families and community members. The second goal was to encourage teamwork among garrison employees.
"I confidently say to the garrison team ... you've accomplished both goals," Margotta said. "You dedicated yourselves to these goals. You willingly and enthusiastically did everything within your power to make Hawaii a better place to live, work and play.
"Look around our community to see the results of your tremendous efforts," Margotta said. "We now have thousands of new homes. We have new and renovated barracks for our single Soldiers. We have the Army's finest recreation program.
"Be proud of what you've accomplished. For this, I and the community owe you a debt of gratitude and a sincere thank you," Margotta concluded.
Margotta had commanded USAG-HI since June 27, 2007. He is noted for his initiatives in building strong partnerships and programs between the Army and the state's local communities and Native Hawaiian groups.
Margotta established the first-ever Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, comprised of leading business, civic and community leaders, in an effort to help the Army better understand issues important to Native Hawaiians.
He was also responsible for the drafting and signing of the Army Native Hawaiian Covenant, a written commitment by the U.S. Army to work together with Native Hawaiians for the mutual interests, understanding and advancements of both sides for the common good of all.
Under his leadership, the garrison received numerous accolades for its initiatives in taking care of Soldiers and their families.
Several efforts have served as models for the Army at large: USAG-HI's Soldier and Family Assistance Center for wounded warriors and their families; the Blue Star Card, a discount and activity card for families of the deployed; and the "Train as you Ride" motorcycle safety course.
The garrison has also been recognized numerous times by both the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the garrison's outstanding environmental programs.
Margotta urged garrison staff to sustain their passion for helping others in providing services and support for the care and welfare of the Army's Soldiers and their communities.
"Never lose sight of the fact ... that our Soldiers and their families are living through tough times now," Margotta said. "Our nation has asked them to sacrifice a lot over the last eight years. The least we can do is to provide them with the highest quality of services and support with the resources we have."
Early next month, Margotta will step into his new role as both deputy commander and chief of staff for the Warrior and Family Support Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
During the change of command ceremony, Mulbury remarked that he recognized the importance of the garrison and its mission of supporting all the Army commands in Hawaii and their Soldiers and families.
"To the many distinguished guests representing the civilian communities outside the gates of our installations, I thank you for your continued support to our Soldiers, their families and the Army," Mulbury said.
"During this time of sustained conflict that our nation faces, when our Soldiers and their families voluntarily sacrifice so much for their nation and its people, it's so extremely helpful that they view Hawaii as their home and that their service and sacrifice are appreciated," Mulbury said. "You do that in so many, many ways.
"I look foreward to meeting with you and continuing our strong relationship of engagement, involvement and communication and mutual respect and understanding," Mulbury said.
"We will continue to be an active member of this community," Mulbury concluded.
Mulbury has more than 25 years of experience in the Army and is no newcomer to Hawaii. The New York native and Cornell University graduate has been stationed at Schofield Barracks previously with the 25th Infantry Division.
Mulbury recently returned from Iraq following a 15-month deployment where he served as the 25th ID's G3 (chief of operations) and the G3 of Multi-National Division North during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He had also served previously in Iraq as a battalion commander with the 10th Mountain Division. He has taught Behavioral Science and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as an assistant professor; taught Military Science at Syracuse University as a professor; and served as Chief of Tactics, at the U.S. Army Infantry School.
View more photos from the Change of Command on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-hi/sets/72157624159224373/">Flickr</a>.