FORT HOOD, Texas — After two years in command of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and numerous unit successes, Col. Matthew Van Wagenen relinquished command of the Greywolf Brigade to Col. John Woodward in a ceremony on Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas, March 4.
Under Van Wagenen's leadership, the Soldiers of the brigade have earned many accolades.
"Today's change of command, as me and Colonel Woodward talked about this week, is really not a day for us," said Van Wagenen, a native of Pittsburgh. "It's more importantly an opportunity for the brigade to take a step further into its long history and reflect on itself and all that these fine Greywolf Soldiers have achieved."
The division commanding general and both the incoming and outgoing Greywolf commanders took the Greywolf Soldiers, friends and family members on a trip down memory lane.
"The quantity, diversity and significance of their accomplishments under Matty's watch are amazing," said Maj. Gen. John Thomson, the 1st Cavalry Division commanding general. "They include many firsts for our Army. Ground force rotations in Korea started with Greywolf. The brigade sent 1-12 Cav. to the Republic of Korea as the first combined arms battalion under a rotational model, and then followed that up with 3-8 Cav. Both of these formations paved the way for the success that we now enjoy."
Along with highlighting the brigade's successes at the National Training Center last year and the fruitful partnership with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team from the Mississippi National Guard, Thomson also made sure to underscore the Greywolf's role in the brigade redesign.
"Greywolf has also led the way in force transformation in the Army," Thomson said. "They were the first to convert to the new triangular formation in our combined arms battalions. Further, 6-9 Cav. was the first to implement the new cavalry redesign. The brigade then tested and validated these conversions providing valuable lessons for the rest of our Army."
The incoming commander, who served as the operations officer and executive officer of the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment from 2005 to 2008, previously served as the G3 of III Corps.
"What an amazing day, and I'm so proud to be able to lead such a great formation," said Woodward, a native of Killeen, Texas. "Over the last 8 months, I've had the opportunity to watch this brigade from just up the street, and I couldn't be luckier to take command from such a great leader and a great person as Matt. This past week being integrated back into the brigade has only solidified its great reputation."
After the guidon changed hands, Thomson expressed his confidence in the incoming commander and his ability carry on the expectation of Greywolf success.
"John, enjoy your time in command," Thomson said. "I know that you will ride the ride and live the legend in fine cavalry fashion. You have my full trust and confidence."
For video footage of this event, use this link: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/452814/greywolf-change-command