Fort Polk's 509th, 'Geronimo,' welcomes incoming commander
July 5, 2011
FORT POLK, La. " The 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, welcomed their incoming commander, Lt. Col. Scott Himes and said farewell to the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Anthony G. Judge, June 29 at the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Field.
Before the ceremony began, Judge received a meritorious service medal for his two years of service.
“It’s been a truly great and humbling experience commanding Geronimo,” he said. “I’m a better Soldier today than I was two years ago.”
Before Judge made his final remarks, Reviewing Officer Col. Mark Stammer said of Judge, “he attacked, defended, harassed and terrorized and simultaneously trained, coached, mentored and counseled rotational training.”
“Thank you for all you have given to Geronimo,” said Judge during his closing remarks. “You’ve contributed to the fight just as much as the units fighting overseas. Geronimo is very much engaged in the conflicts of today and is imperative to the units who have passed through.”
Judge and Himes inspected the Geronimo companies together before Judge relinquished his command.
For his part, Judge stepped down with pride and a sense of having gained invaluable knowledge during his tenure.
“Two years ago I stood humbly as I received command of Geronimo. Now I stand here with the knowledge that command is about the great Soldiers who stand here today. They are the most agile I’ve ever seen. There is no doubt that those who work with and against Geronimo are well prepared for combat.”
The 509th mission supports the Army, Judge said, by “stressing the importance of leadership at all levels. Geronimo epitomizes that. The key to success here is to empower Soldiers and junior leaders.”
The Opposing Force experience has been “completely different” for Judge than his other commands and assignments. “Our role in general is different. We train our own Soldiers for combat; we train to be the enemy, replicating the enemy threat and we facilitate partnership in rotations.”
Judge commended the Soldiers for their accomplishments.
“My achievements are not mine but the units’ achievements. I was fortunate to be the guy in charge. It was a privilege and an honor to serve with you. Paratroopers, you have my undying respect and gratitude.”
Himes took up his command with a sense of honor: “It’s a privilege to have been selected to serve and a privilege to serve with Geronimo, tasked with such an important mission,” he said.
“I want to maintain the standards of this command. To serve with such high caliber Soldiers " there’s nothing like it,” Himes said. “Every day is a blessing. I have to live up to their standard.”