By Sergeant 1st Class Vincent AbrilJune 11, 2014
American military ceremonies are rich with symbolism and heritage dating back to medieval times. These customs and deep rooted traditions are a significant part of our military's storied history and culture.
In the past two months, Soldiers from several companies and battalions across the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade 2nd Infantry Division put those traditions on display. At the peak season of Soldier transition across the Korean peninsula, these units held several change of command and responsibility ceremonies honoring their outgoing and incoming commanding officers and senior noncommissioned officers.
Of all ceremonies held during this time period, Soldiers stood tall in final deference to their brigade's top leaders in two culminating ceremonies ending another chapter of the brigade's history, and beginning another.
One ceremony was held to honor the outgoing senior enlisted advisor of 2nd CAB 2nd Inf. Div., Sgt. Maj. Lourdes Berrios-Powell of San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 4. On the following day, a ceremony was held to honor the outgoing Brigade commander of 2nd CAB, Col. Walter T. Rugen of Onalaska, Wis. This would mark the completion to the extensive changeover of leadership across the board in the 2nd CAB.
The Commanding General of the 2nd Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, a native of Rhode Island, hosted Rugen's change of command ceremony where he praised the outgoing command team and their Soldiers.
"2nd CAB has worked tirelessly to help preserve peace and deter aggression on the Korean peninsula, and has been superbly led by Command Sgt. Maj. Berrios-Powell, who transferred responsibility yesterday and Col. Wally Rugen, for the past two years," said Vandal.
As a rite of passage, Soldiers paraded before their leaders with staffs held high in the air as they represented the colors of their unit's proud history. They did so in honor of their departing and incoming leaders, marching in front of them for the first time to traditional ceremonial music played by the 2nd Infantry Division "Warrior" Band.
Col William D. Taylor of Santa Monica, Calif. and Command Sgt. Maj. Estevan Sotorosado, a native of Aguada, Puerto Rico now form the new command team of the only U.S. Army combat aviation brigade in South Korea and are humbled at the opportunity to serve here.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the 2nd brigade team, "said Sotorosado. "A team comprised of the world's best aviation Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers."