Fort George G. Meade Md. -- Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bailey took command of First Army Division East in a ceremony on the Fort George G. Meade, Md., Parade Field Monday, Aug. 26 from Maj. Gen. Kevin R. Wendel. Bailey assumed command of First Army Division East following an assignment as the Chief of Operations (G-3/5/7), U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

"Thank you for joining us today on this momentous occasion to recognize the leadership of two superb army senior officers," said First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker, the ceremony host.

Division East has had a positive impact on the readiness of the Army's Operational Reserve, explained Tucker. More than 36,000 service members mobilized and more than 52,000 demobilized during Wendel's tenure from March 2011 to August 2013.

"Kevin, your skillful division command leadership during the last 30 months has been absolutely masterful. I just want to personally say thanks!" said Tucker.

Tucker compared Wendel to a great baseball pinch hitter, referencing the five months when Wendel commanded both First Army and Division East.

"Maj. Gen. Wendel's prowess at being dual-hatted must be well known across our Army. In a few days, Kevin will depart for his new assignment to -- once again -- don two command hats as the Commander of the Combined Security Transition Command --Afghanistan and Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission -- Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," Tucker said.

During an award ceremony just prior to the change of command, Tucker presented Wendel with the Distinguished Defense Service Medal for all he accomplished as commander of both First Army and Division East. Denise Wendel received the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for her support to the Soldiers, Families, and Division East members across the command.

"Kevin, your superb dedication to Division East, First Army, and our nation exemplifies the best in what our nation expects from our Army's greatest leaders," said Tucker. "Your legacy with Division East is cemented, and you should take great pride in knowing you leave behind a great training organization that truly lives up to your unit's motto 'Train for Combat.'"

"Your reputation and that of your Division as the premier reserve component training formation makes it obvious why you were selected for your next job," Tucker concluded.

Wendel emphasized the professionalism of his trainer/mentors as well as the impact they make every day on the readiness of the Operational Reserve as well as their growing training mission to other elements of the Army's Total Force.

"The brigades you see on the field deliver world class training," Wendel said. "Bottom line -- what you see before you is a team of team that trains, and they do a magnificent job."

He said even as the Army begins drawing down, the First Army mission will continue, focusing on enabling and supporting readiness in the Operational Reserve.

"What senior leaders are seeing is that our unique, multi-component approach is one of the most cost-effective training options available to the Army," said Wendel. "Our teams are small, but highly effective -- delivering relevant, mission-focused, standards-based training at exceptional value."

Wendel thanked all team, staff, and enterprise and installation partners throughout the Division East footprint for ensuring the Division and his success over the last 30 months.

"I have been blessed by being surrounded by a superb staff, our brigade commanders, their command sergeants major, trainer/mentors, and civilians -- experts in every facet of manning, equipping, training, mobilizing, and demobilizing our nation's Reserve Component. I am in awe of what you do. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve with all of you and the Soldiers in your ranks. Train for Combat," he said.

Wendel concluded, after thanking his wife and family for their support, by welcoming Bailey and his wife, Karen, to the First Army Division East family.

"It is a real pleasure to see a great war-fighter, leader and trainer join the Division," Wendel said. "As you can see from Jeff Bailey's bio, there is no one more qualified to command Division East."

Bailey thanked all the general officers, family members, guests, and installation and enterprise partners attending the ceremony before specifically thanking Tucker for allowing him to command Division East.

"Lt. Gen. Tucker, thank you for the privilege of command and honor you've bestowed on me. I understand the magnitude of the responsibility you've given me, and I want you to know Karen and I are willing, ready, able, and committed to the task. We're going to make your Army and this Division successful."

He had a special message for Wendel.

"I've stood in admiration and awe of this division over the last year. I want you to know I'm committed to carrying on the legacy you've established over the last few years, and we'll keep pushing forward," Bailey promised.

Bailey then turned his attention to the Brigade leaders and all the Soldiers on the parade field.

"To the commanders and Soldiers on the field: it's an honor to see you out there, and I'm thrilled to be joining your ranks today. You enjoy a tremendous reputation … across the U.S. Army," Bailey said. "I'm looking forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with you as we continue to work the task that's ours in First Army Division East."

First Army Division East mobilizes, trains, validates and deploys Reserve component units in accordance with combatant commanders, Department of the Army and Forces Command directives. As directed, the division provides training to joint, interagency, combined and active Army forces. The division and its eight brigades conduct training at mobilization force generation installations located at Camp Atterbury, Ind.; Camp Shelby, Miss.; and Joint Base Myer-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and other training sites across the continental United States. More information about First Army Division East is available at http://1aeast.army.mil/.