By Sgt. Adam Hinman, 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD)July 19, 2017
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Command held a change of command and retirement ceremony July 19, 2017 at McBride Parade Field.
The first half of the ceremony was the change of command where Brig. Gen. William E. King IV, out-going commander of the 20th CBRNE Command, relinquished his role as commander to Brig. Gen. James E. Bonner.
Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, served as the reviewing officer for both the transfer of command to Bonner and the retirement ceremony for King.
"From where I stand, it is clear that you represent the Soldiers, civilians, and families of this great command and Aberdeen Proving Ground with great pride," said Richardson as she viewed the officers and Soldiers from the 20th CBRNE Command units standing on the parade field.
Emphasizing how the command supported the Army, Richardson said, "The 20th CBRNE Command is one of the most unique and technical commands in our Army. The chemical and explosive related capabilities it possesses remain ready to spring into action to support military and civilian authorities and agencies at home and abroad. In fact today, as we are conducting this ceremony, units from the command are executing missions right now across the world. The Soldiers and civilians of the 20th CBRNE Command are among the most highly trained and capable in our Army."
She was followed by Bonner who spoke directly to the troops now under his command about their reputation and the unit's plans for the future.
"To the Soldiers representing the 20th CBRNE Command today on the parade field, you look magnificent," said Bonner. "To the unit's members, past and present, your excellent reputation is well known.
"Together we will continue this fine tradition and prepare ourselves to accomplish any challenge that our nation requires of us. I am immensely proud and honored to be your commanding general."
The second half of the ceremony was King's retirement ceremony where Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, retired, spoke of his knowledge of King's capabilities and service. Johnson emphasized how impressed he was with both the 20th CBRNE Command and King's leadership.
King served as the operations officer at the time when Johnson was the commander of 8th Army in Korea.
"I immediately conspired to steal King away from the 20th CBRNE Command," said Johnson. "King's focus and intensity for the counter-weapons of mass destruction mission spread throughout the 8th Army, into the Republic of Korea Army and ultimately the entire combined forces command."
After all of the other speakers offered their kind words, King recounted stories of his time in command and focused his attention to the Soldiers on the parade field.
"I want to thank the leaders you see before you today," said King. "They represent the 4,300 Soldiers and civilians of this great organization. Their selfless service and commitment to duty, and that of those fine Soldiers that they represent, is what makes our Army and our nation envied by all.
"I cannot think of a finer organization that I would want to complete my military service assigned to."