FORT SAM HOUSTON, Tx --- In a change of command ceremony June 27 in front of the historic Old Brooke Army Medical Center, Lt. Col. Rene' Brown passed the colors to incoming commander Lt. Col. Thomas Ellis, signifying a change of authority of the United States San Antonio Recruiting Battalion.

Brown, who has led the San Antonio Recruiting Battalion for two years, is retiring after 26 years of military service. He and his wife Carolyn and their children, Matthew, Brianna and Travis will relocate to Kentucky to begin his ministry.

Col. Francis Caponio, commander of the 5th Recruiting Brigade, presiding officer for the ceremony, commended Brown and the battalion with doing more than its share of ensuring that the Army is resourced adequately with well-qualified Soldiers. He also applauded them for being the top battalion in both volume and quality achievement for the past three years, a first in the United States Army Recruiting Command. Caponio praised Brown as a great leader.

"Rene's dedication, hard work, and strength as a leader and motivator are truly second to none. He has built a team that is also second to none," said Caponio. "Many would credit the command climate created under the superb leadership of Lt. Col. Brown as a big factor in their success. He exemplifies the motto: 'Mission first - people always.'"

Brown, thanking the battalion for its support, said, "Over the past two years this mighty battalion has indeed set a high mark in recruiting excellence that cannot be erased; everything from increasing enlisting of more high school seniors, to increasing awareness in recruiting to your communities, becoming the number one battalion in USAREC for three years in row. Wow!"

Incoming commander Lt. Col. Thomas Ellis accepted the unit's colors signifying his acceptance of authority for the San Antonio Recruiting Battalion. Caponio welcomed Ellis to the Recruiting Battalion.

"We are looking forward to working with you in your new capacity as commander of the Tiger Battalion. A command is one of the greatest privileges bestowed upon an officer, said Caponio. I charge you to lead from the front, and always take care of your Soldiers and their Families. They will amaze and astound you with their collective talent and dedication."

Ellis, a native of Houston, comes to Fort Sam Houston from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va. where he served as the Transportation, lieutenant colonel assignment officer.

Ellis said to his wife Christy and his daughter Paige as he took the lectern, "Our Family just got a little bigger.

"I recognized the significant honor and responsibility that I accept by assuming this position and I want to thank Col. Caponio for allowing me this opportunity to lead these great Soldiers," said Ellis.

Then Ellis addressed the audience that included distinguished visitors, all six USREC's companies, friends and guests on the battalion's mission of frequently working in an ever-challenging operating environment.

"The importance of our recruiting mission cannot be overstated in this current environment where our nation finds itself in a period of protracted conflict. We have a challenging road ahead of us.

However, Ellis said to the battalion, "based on your past, accomplishments, professionalism and expertise, I know we will continue to excel in our recruiting mission. I look forward to serving with you and sharing in all that the future holds."