FORT DEVENS, Mass. (June 26, 2017) -- The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Devens/Devens Reserve Forces Training Area welcomed its new garrison commander during a June 23 change of command ceremony at the parade field.

Lt. Col. Efrem Z. Slaughter assumed command from Lt. Col. Charlette K. Woodard in the ceremony, hosted by Col. Martin F. Klein, Army Support Activity - Fort Dix commander.

"This hallowed ground, which has been called home to a number of the Army's best and brightest units, has a long and storied history, generating some of the most lethal capabilities that our nation has ever seen," Klein said. "Through close to 100 years, this installation has trained to fight and win our nation's wars."

According to Klein, Woodard saw to it that the tradition continued.

"For the past two years, Fort Devens has been superbly led by Lt. Col. Charlette Woodard, a 22-year veteran of the United States Army Reserve, who has proudly served our country both at home and abroad, deploying to combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom," Klein said. "Under Charlotte's command, Fort Devens has provided unparalleled support to units operating in the Northeast."

Klein said that Woodard led a rebalancing of the installation, increased its efficiency and combined strength, and improved civilian quality of life over her tenure. He added that Slaughter will build on that strong foundation.

"He's another wonderful officer, with more than two decades of service to our Army and to the nation, including combat experience on the sands of Iraq," Klein said. "Lieutenant Colonel Slaughter has a remarkable reputation, and his dedication to duty and commitment and excellence (are) reflected in everything that he has done."

Slaughter said he was "overwhelmed with a sense of pride and humility" upon taking command.

"Command is a privilege," Slaughter said. "And I pledge to work tirelessly to ensure the Devens team (that) Fort Devens remains the premier training location for the men and women of our Armed Forces who train here.

"The well-being of the Soldiers, Army civilians and family members here (is) inextricably linked to the success of our mission to help generate readiness for the force. I am proud and humbled to be a part of this great organization, and I look forward to serving as your next commander."

Woodard said the change of command was a bittersweet moment for her.

"Garrison command is different than any other assignment that I've had over my last 22 years of service in the Army," Woodard said. "I had a great ride, truly the best assignment in my military career."