Cavalry squadron gets new commander
June 14, 2012
By: Capt. Michael Greenberger
1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment
FORT DRUM, NY -- Lt. Col. David L. Sanders III passed command of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment to Lt. Col. Robert F. Griggs in a ceremony at Magrath Gym June 12.
Sanders, a native of Helotes, Texas, commanded the unit for 20 months and led the squadron on numerous field, training, and gunnery exercises including one of the largest rotations the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. had ever seen.
Sanders began the last day of his command leading a squadron run. Following the run, Sanders, visibly emotional, told his troops how much they'd meant to him and how he admired them.
"Soldiers, you have the best non-commissioned officers that will no doubt lead you into battle and bring you home," Sanders exclaimed. "Your officers are the best I've ever seen. The group of commanders and first sergeants you have are the most tactically and technically proficient in this entire division."
To Soldiers of 1-89 Cavalry, the feeling was more than mutual.
"Seven years in the Army and he (Sanders) is among the best squadron commanders I have ever had," said Sgt. Ignacio Mirabal, a team leader with B Troop, 1-89 Cavalry. "Every single training event he was on the ground with us -- he went through every single iteration with us."
Sanders, known for his consistent display of cavalry pride and tradition, providing realistic training, and enforcement of discipline and standards, took every opportunity to build the 1-89 Cavalry into the team it is today.
"I think he brought a lot of motivation and pride to the unit, which was lacking. He took a genuine interest in every Soldier as well as their family members," said Sgt. Mike Leivas, a section leader with A Troop, 1-89 Cavalry. "His approach to leadership is outstanding. He always pushed you to achieve 100 percent. If you needed extra support he would sit down and talk to you. I've never had a squadron commander walk a live fire lane all day in full (body armor) kit."
"Be proud of your organization because you are 1-89 Cavalry," Sanders said. "1-89 Cavalry is right here. It's not with me or the Sgt. Maj. -- 1-89 Cavalry lives in you, right here in your heart -- every day."
A colorful and outspoken leader, Soldiers, leaders, and family members of 1-89 Cavalry both respected and admired Sanders for his dedication to the unit and its extended family.
"He was a very approachable commander," Mirabal said. "Soldiers at all levels could stop him and talk to him about anything. He was always in the troop areas checking on the Soldiers and leaders."
After passing the cavalry squadron's reigns to Griggs, Sanders declared high praise for the Wolverine's incoming leader.
"I couldn't think of a better command team to come in than Lt. Col. Rob and Jerah Griggs," Sanders said. "They are going to take the squadron to another level."
Griggs, no stranger to command, also had high praise for the Wolverines.
"Without a doubt, commanding any unit is an honor," Griggs said. "Commanding back in the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and this BCT is even more special. Taking this organization as it has been presented to me exceeds all my expectations and that is a reflection of the team built by Lt. Col. Sanders and Command Sgt. Maj. DeBlois, along with the other Wolverine leaders that I have met and worked with so far."
Sanders and his family go on to attend the Army War College.
More information and photos can be found on the 1-89 Cavalry Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/1-89-CAV-RECON/146651639927.