Historic HIMARS unit changes command
FORT BRAGG N.C-Col. John L. Rafferty Jr., commander of the 18th Field Artilllery Brigade passes the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, colors to Lt. Col. Douglas M. Thomas at the battalion's change of command ceremony at the XVIII Airborne... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Lt. Col. Brandon Meno relinquished command of the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, to Lt. Col. Douglas M. Thomas on June 9 at the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg NCO Academy Field.

Throughout Meno's tenure, Steel Rain Soldiers continued to support the Global Response Force mission and participated in joint, multicomponent, and multinational exercises to enhance readiness and maintain the battalion's rich tradition. The battalion, activated in March 1988, was the first unit to launch Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets in Desert Storm and the first unit to field the in-demand High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The battalion persistently deployed HIMARS units in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

"I inherited a high performance sports car and figured that I just needed to make sure I didn't leave the engine on the interstate," said Meno during the ceremony. "I came close, but with the extraordinary talent you see before you, they kept the engine full mission capable."

Meno is scheduled to attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Col. John L. Rafferty Jr., the 18th Field Artillery Brigade commander, hosted the ceremony.

"While our Army transitions to a posture of sustained readiness, they need to look no further than right here at 3-27. Its readiness to deploy, fight and win sets the standard for others to follow," Rafferty said.

"You are one of the primary advocates for this capability and you are one of the reasons why HIMARS is one of the premier demand capability around the world," Rafferty continued.

Lt. Col. Douglas Thomas is ready to carry on the battalion's tradition. Thomas most recently served as Aide de Camp to the United States Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium.

"3-27 is a superb unit with a fantastic reputation, which has been earned through hard work, dedication, and of course the great Soldiers who make this unit what it is today," said Thomas to the Soldiers of the Steel Rain Battalion. "I am very proud, and very privileged to be the newest member of Steel Rain. I won't let you down."