Fort Drum garrison commander
Col. Noel T. Nicolle, incoming garrison commander, accepts the guidon from Russell B. Hall, Installation Management Command-Northeast director, during a change of command ceremony Thursday, as Col. Kenneth H. Riddle, outgoing commander, looks on.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers and civilian employees at Fort Drum participated in a garrison change of command ceremony Thursday at Magrath Gym as community members bade farewell to outgoing commander Col. Kenneth H. Riddle and his wife, Maria, and welcomed new commander Col. Noel T. Nicolle and his wife, Tamara, to the North Country.

Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, applauded Riddle, and thanked him and Maria for their service.

"Ken ... your leadership, vision and unmatched skill to foster a climate that promotes teamwork are the reasons why Fort Drum is 'The Army's best kept secret,'" Terry said. "Ken and Maria have been the face of Fort Drum, working with leaders in this great North Country community, extending the warmth of our community to our Soldiers and Families."

Terry also praised Nicolle as a great leader, adding he will continue to be so during his time in the North Country.

"I want to officially welcome the Nicolle Family to the North Country from Fort Sill, Okla.," Terry said. "Welcome to the warmest place I know, because the warmth comes from the hearts of this great community.

"You are going to find this command one of the most challenging jobs that you will ever have, but I assure you it will be the most rewarding," he added. "The mantle of leadership is now passed to you, Noel. I wish you all the satisfaction and pride that comes with the solemn responsibility this command holds for you. The civilians, Soldiers and Families of Fort Drum will be well served, of that I am certain."

Riddle, who has served as Fort Drum's garrison commander since May 2008, spoke fondly of his tenure and reflected on the many accomplishments of the military and civilian workforce he led. Riddle said he and his wife will never forget their experiences here.

"What do you say after 28 months of receiving such awesome support from a phenomenal workforce, an embracing community and a command climate that truly allows you to command'" Riddle asked. "'Thank you' just does not seem to do it justice.

"It has indeed been my privilege to lead such a powerful and prestigious garrison team of professionals," he added. "There is no more worthy cause that I can think of than to take care of the Soldiers and Families fighting for our country."

Riddle will assume new responsibilities as the 10th Mountain Division operations officer during the upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Along with Terry's remarks about the change of command, Russell B. Hall, Installation Management Command Northeast Region director, wished both colonels the best in their new endeavors.

"I am here to tell you that there is no better garrison command and staff than right here at Fort Drum," Hall said. "They excel in every area of installation management and provide the best service possible to the Soldiers and Families of the 10th Mountain Division. That great staff has been led for more than two years by Col. Ken Riddle.

"He is known for his care and compassion for the Soldiers, Families and civilians under his watch," he continued. "You set the highest standards for all the Soldiers and civilians to emulate, and your contributions to the success of the garrison are immeasurable.

"And today, Ken passes the mantle of responsibility for the garrison command to Col. Noel Nicolle," Hall added. "Col. Nicolle is eminently qualified to lead this great garrison staff. He knows from experience that the services the garrison provides are essential to giving the Soldiers the peace of mind they need, knowing that their Families are well taken care of, so that they deploy and keep their focus on the mission, because you and your staff are taking care of their Families back here at home."

After Hall spoke, Nicolle thanked everyone for their kind words and said he looks forward to working with Soldiers, civilians and Family Members of the Fort Drum community.

"I'm honored to be the Fort Drum garrison commander, and I pledge to tirelessly serve the Soldiers, Family Members and civilians of this great division and post," Nicolle said. "I look forward to working with the community leaders of the North Country on behalf of our Soldiers and their Families.

"I am excited to be a member of such an incredible garrison team - one that is recognized Armywide for its professionalism and dedication to Soldiers and their Families," he added.

Nicolle was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1984 and entered active duty in 1986 following an educational delay. After completing his first assignment in Germany, he went on to serve at Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Iraq; and Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

His education includes a bachelor's degree from Northwestern State University and a master's degree from Louisiana State University.

Nicolle and his wife have two sons.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16