MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Brig. Gen. Lewis Irwin relinquished command of the 926th Engineer Brigade to Col. Mark A. Cook in a ceremony Nov. 23 at the Maj. David Moniac U.S. Army Reserve Center in Montgomery, Alabama.
Maj. Gen. Tracy A. Thompson served as the reviewing officer for the ceremony.
"Ceremonies are a critical part of our history as an army and the change of command ceremony is one of our most important. It symbolizes a lot of things and it should mean a lot to you ... I also think it's important for [Soldiers] to see these ceremonies," said Thompson. "That's part of why we go through promotions, that's part of why we go through things that have symbolic meaning such as passing the flag, because symbols, with the way our brains are wired, carry great weight. The passing of a flag is just one example of them, pinning on a rank is just one example of them. They carry great weight with us."
During the ceremony, Irwin spoke of his new assignment which he began Oct. 1.
"I'd like to thank Maj. Gen. Thompson for really being the emphasis behind this transitional ceremony," said Irwin. "As he has pointed out, because of [the Soldiers and civilians of the 926th Eng. Bde.] I've had the good fortune, the honor and the privilege to be named the new commanding general of the 416th Theater Engineer Command."
Irwin also expressed pride in the Soldiers and civilians he worked with during his tenure with the 926th Eng. Bde.
"I will tell you, you and your teammates stepped up and you have made a difference in all of this. This is not the same brigade that was there before," said Irwin. "I cannot stress enough: it's because you worked hard and you put your Soldiers and you put your mission ahead of yourselves. When you do those things, good things happen, they happen for your Soldiers, they happen for your mission and the Army, but they also happen for you."
Cook assumed duties as the commander of the 926th Eng. Bde. Oct. 1, after serving as the deputy commanding officer of the United States Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division in Winchester, Virginia and Kabul, Afghanistan. He was responsible for the integration of staff and resourcing and integration of forward-deployed headquarters and Forward Engineering Support Teams.
Cook had some encouraging words for the Soldiers and civilians of the 926th Eng. Bde.
"General Thompson, I want to say thank you for your leadership and mentorship and giving me the opportunity to exceed your expectations," said Cook. "I take this command with humility, confidence and purpose to make sure that we meet our metrics and we have mission command and it's continued improvement ... our destiny is at our command. Mission above all!"