JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - A week of multiple changes of command ceremonies for the 17th Field Artillery Brigade concluded with the change of command ceremony for Col. Tim Kehoe, as the outgoing brigade commander, to Col. Andrew Gainey, incoming commander, June 19 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The brigade's week of ceremonies commenced with the Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, holding a change of command ceremony from Lt. Col. Ian S. Bennett to Lt. Col. James Dunwoody, on June 16. Under Bennett's tenure, the battalion saw multiple High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) training exercises and a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. The battalion returned home in April.
The week of ceremonies continued with the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, change of command ceremony from Lt. Col. Alan R. Wagner to Lt. Col. Frank M. Buchheit on June 17. The 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment returned home from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in September 2014.
Following two significant changes for the brigade was the change of command for the brigade's support battalion. Soldiers with the 308th Brigade Support Battalion held a change of command ceremony from Lt. Col. Daniel Ellinger to Lt. Col. Michael Labrecque on June 18. The battalion has maintained its steady support of the brigade's artillery battalions and of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery.
Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, 7th Infantry Division commander, addressed the brigade formation and the invited guests during the 17th FAB change of command ceremony on Watkins Field. Kehoe has commanded the 17th FAB since July 2013, with his command tenure overseeing multiple deployments and operationally demanding periods for the brigade and its subordinate battalions.
"To the 17th FAB, I would like thank you all for the support and help for the last two and a half years. Soldiers, you motivated me to get up every morning and start my day - so thank you," said Kehoe.
Kehoe is succeeded by Col. Andrew Gainey, who has deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Gainey has previously served as Division Assistant Fire Support coordinator, assignment officer at the Army Human Resources Command (AHRC), commander of 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, and as a military assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
"Kehoe, you did a tremendous job with the 17th FAB. I am truly honored to be leading this great formation and together we will take this brigade to new heights," said Gainey. "Thanks to you, for a great ceremony."
In the upcoming months, the 17th FAB will support Talisman Saber and Operation Ulchi Freedom, while training and preparing for any deployment mission it is assigned.