BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Soldiers and families of the Cold Steel Battery said goodbye Capt. Thomas G. Harris, who relinquished command to Capt. Christopher W. Conte, the incoming commander of Charlie Battery, 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery during a change of command ceremony on April 17 at Smith Barracks.
Lt. Col. Barry Carter, the 5-7 ADA Battalion commander, shared his first impression of Harris and with left the audience at Minick Field with some kind words of the outgoing commander.
"I heard many things leading up to our meeting, most included words like experienced, reliable, confident, the best," Carter said. "You went up and beyond to live up to these adjectives as a leader."
As the new commander, Conte has big shoes to fill. During the last 20 months Harris has be in command, the unit participated in numerous training event and missions. They have worked tirelessly day and night completing three Table VIII Gunnery Certifications and one Table XII Gunnery Certification.
The unit worked hard to strengthen relationships with our allies and partners, including missions to the Netherlands in support of Joint Project Optic Windmill and Sweden for Aurora 2017. Under Harris's command the Cold Steel Battery earned two U.S. Army Europe Maintenance Excellence Awards and one Deployment Excellence Award.
After Carter finished his remarks, Harris took the podium to address his troops one last time.
"You have my thanks and respect," Harris said. "You are some of the strongest, most resilient and professional individuals I have ever had the chance of leading."
With the passing of the guidon from the 5-7 ADA Battalion Commander to incoming Charlie Battery Commander, Conte assumed the responsibility and authority of Charlie Battery.
In his remarks, Carter also welcomed Conte as the new battery commander to the "No Fear Battalion".
"You bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the fight and I have total confidence in your ability to ensure that Cold Steel maintains its already high level of excellence," Carter said.
Before the ceremony concluded, Conte addressed his new troops for the first time.
"I am absolutely honored and humbled for the opportunity that has been presented to me, Conte said. "I stand here before you with great humility ready to accept the challenge that is serving as your battery commander. I do not take this role lightly."