By Sgt. 1st Class Thomas G. CollinsJuly 14, 2016
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii--A slight westerly breeze graced Weyand field as Soldiers from 500th Military Intelligence Brigade witnessed Col. Patrick J. Wempe relinquish command to Col. William D. Conner during a change of command ceremony held July 14, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Ballard, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, presided over the ceremony.
Ballard, a former 500th MI Bde. Commander, expressed gratitude for Wempe's commitment to the brigade.
"Thank you for your unwavering commitment to this mission, the Soldiers, civilians, and families of the 500th MI Bde., and this community," said Ballard. "I'm sure I speak for many here in saying that as you depart you leave a hole in our hearts and you will be missed."
Ballard praised Wempe for his leadership and noted his accomplishment of the brigade's mission in the Pacific.
"What we ask of this brigade and its leaders is nothing less than extraordinary, and Col. Pat Wempe and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Cullen have been the perfect command team to accomplish all that we have asked," said Ballard. "Pat's quiet competence, his approachable leadership, his personal engagement have earned him the respect of countless intelligence partners across the region and he has been a good faith ambassador for the U.S. Army, for INSCOM, and our Nation in this vital part of the world."
Ballard also welcomed Conner and family.
"I'm so proud of what the 500th MI Bde. is doing today and what it is now capable of doing in the future. And today, we entrust that future into the capable hands of Col. Doug Conner and his family… Welcome," said Ballard. "I know you will appreciate how fortunate you are to join this tremendous Army family and I'm confident they will quickly discover how lucky they are to have you join their ranks."
Conner, no stranger to the challenges of the Pacific, served as the Chief of Operations for 8th Army intelligence section and as the U.S. Forces Korea joint intelligence section officer in charge.
"While my personal service in the Pacific began three years ago with 8th Army in Korea, my connection to the theater dates back to World War II with my father's service as an Army medic," said Conner. "I have always been truly honored to carry forward his legacy of service to our Army and our nation throughout my career, but it is a special honor to do so here in the Pacific where he served."
Conner also noted how his Army career began.
"October first of this year will mark the 30th anniversary of the day I stepped off a bus at Fort Knox, Ky., as a young Private, embarking on a career and an adventure that would take me around the world," said Conner. "I could not have imagined then that one day I'd have the honor and privilege of leading an organization like the 500th MI Bde."
In his final remarks Wempe shared his lasting thoughts of the brigade.
"Every day you are given impossible tasks, and you find a way to accomplish them. We set unfairly high expectations, and you exceed them. The world and the region present daunting challenges, and you meet them, and incredible opportunities, and you realize them," said Wempe. "You are individually and collectively, simply remarkable. It's been an inspiration to be around you. It has been a privilege to lead you. But mostly, it has been a profound honor to have been one of you."