FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- With thunderous booms and flashes of fire, blank artillery rounds bombarded the gray morning skies over the First Army Division East change of command ceremony held on McGlachlin Field, August 7.

Each blast from five M102 Howitzers represented the successful partnership between Division East and the Maryland Army National Guard. Soldiers from each command served side-by-side in the salute battery during the ceremony.

In his remarks during the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker, First Army commanding general, recognized the importance of First Army's partnership with the Army's Reserve Component.

"Our charter in First Army is to work hand-in-glove with the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are a multi-component organization, comprised of folks from the active component, the National Guard, and the Army Reserve,' Tucker said. "And, thanks to the untiring efforts of Sgt. Major William Hartman of the Maryland National Guard, we have a shining example here this morning of just such an application of the total Army approach. The salute battery for this morning's ceremony is from the Maryland Army National Guard's 58th Troop Command. Maj. Gen. (Linda) Singh and Sgt. Maj. Hartman, we thank you and those great 'Red Legs' out there on the field and for your tremendous support to this ceremony."

Sgt. 1st Class David Bures, 58th Troop Command assistant operations noncommissioned officer, said the battery typically conducts one or two ceremonies each year.

"This particular salute battery for the change of command ceremony is made up of Soldiers from First Army Division East and the 58th Troop Command.

"We've provided salute batteries at Fort McHenry, Fort Myer and for Antietam (National) Battlefield held annually on the Fourth of July."

Col. Timothy Newsome, First Army Division East chief of staff, who served as the ceremony's commander of troops, said the salute battery's participation highlighted the cooperation between the two organizations.

"This is a great, great news story because it exemplifies the theme of 'one Army' and the fact that First Army is a multicomponent organization," Newsome said.

Maj. Gen. Brian McKiernan, incoming Division East commanding general, gave perhaps the highest compliment he could share.

"A special thank you to the salute battery of the 58th Troop Command. As a fellow Red Leg, I can say with authority that was one of the most precise salutes I've seen in my 29 years of service."