FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (August 5, 2013) -- Col. (promotable) John Elam assumed command of the 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support) during a ceremony held at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. on Aug. 4, 2013.

Elam replaces Col. Wayne Cavender who is retiring after 29 years of service inclusive of both active and reserve duty.

"I can never extend enough heartfelt appreciation for what you've done for his honorable unit," said Maj. Gen. Bill Gerety, Commanding General 80th Training Command (TASS). "You did great things for us, and John's inheriting a great organization."

Gerety, who hosted the ceremony and passed the unit guidon from Cavender to Elam as a symbol of transferring command leadership, expressed to Cavender that despite being retired the job does not end.

"You are now part of a long line of retirees, but once a Soldier always a Soldier," Gerety said. "You are now an advisor and an asset that will help the Army continue to do what it will and should do."

During his speech, Cavendar thanked the Soldiers and Army civilians who have served with him, and told Elam what can be expected while working with the 102nd Soldiers in the future.

"These are some of the finest Soldiers I have ever had to work with," Cavender said. "I am confident these Soldiers will not only meet, but set conditions to meet."

Elam, who previously served with the 411th Engineer Brigade as the Deputy Commander, expressed his willingness to take on the high expectations Cavender set, but stated it would require dedication and teamwork from the Soldiers in the division.

"The next several years, I pledge to dedicate my all," Elam said. "We will have to strike a balance between Reserve duty, work, family, and friends, but we will move the division forward and continue to serve this great nation."