Spearhead brigade changes command
August 15, 2011
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Members of the 177th Armored Brigade, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center stood on the parade field July 29, to honor and say goodbye to Col. William W. Prior, the brigade’s commander and to welcome a new commander, Col. Dale C. Kuehl.
Prior took command of the 177th July 19, 2009, with the mission of training Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to deploy to our nation’s warfronts and ensuring they had the best training possible to complete their mission.
Maj. Gen. Kevin R. Wendel, First Army Division East commanding general, highlighted the brigade’s accomplishments under Prior’s leadership.
“In the past two years…the 177th team has trained and deployed over 19,000 Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and demobilized almost 15,000 here at Camp Shelby,” said Wendel.
Wendel also said Prior built a comprehensive training strategy, leveraging virtually every capability across the Army to execute realistic, relevant and focused training for brigade combat teams and other major formations.
“I want to thank you for your dedicated service not only to First Army, but to our nation,” Wendel said to Prior. “You have made a lasting impact on so many you have served with. Good luck and God speed.”
Prior stood before his brigade for the last time as their commander, thanking those in attendance. He took a moment to talk about the members of the organization.
“What I would like you to remember about these men and women and this brigade is this: What they do is critically important to the welfare of our Army and our nation, and they have done it exceptionally well,” said Prior.
He also explained while there was no doubt the Solider on point is the most important in war, those preparing forces for combat operations and taking care of those individuals when they return from the fight must be considered a close second.
The brigade’s mission, said Prior is “preparing and training units before the fight and caring for Soldiers upon their return; and we have done that extremely well.”
Priors’ closing statement was a heartfelt “Spearhead to Victory!”
Kuehl, the incoming commander, took Prior’s place before the brigade as their commander for the first time.
“Camp Shelby has a rich history in training our nation’s citizen Soldiers for combat,” said Kuehl. “A tradition that continues today with thousands of Soldiers coming through these gates every year to prepare to go into harm’s way to defeat the enemies of our nation.
“Our mission is clear…to train and prepare our nation’s finest for deployment for contingency operations in some of the most dangerous parts of the world and defeat those that seek to do us harm,” Kuehl closed.