ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD -- Capt. Bryan M. Smith relinquished command of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, to Capt. Ralph D. Miller, during a change of command ceremony held at the Stark Recreation Center July 10 located on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood.

Brig. Gen. Jim Bonner, commanding general, 20th CBRNE Command, spoke highly of both officers during the ceremony that began with Bonner presenting Smith with the Meritorious Service Medal.

"This award is for everyone at the HHC. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the support and hard work of everyone at this command and I am grateful and humbled to have been a part of it," said Smith, a native of Fairfax, Virginia and 2010 alumni of Virginia Commonwealth University. His next assignment will be Texas A&M University where he will serve as an assistant professor of military studies.

"Bryan fostered a cohesive team attitude that is based on trust, honor and mutual respect," said Bonner adding that Smith successfully took on every single mission and task with laser focus.

He went on to highlight some of Smith's most notable accomplishments such as fostering a cohesive team attitude, ensuring unit readiness, planning, coordinating and executing three multi-national exercises conducted in South Korea, and ensuring unit readiness.

"Readiness is the Army's number one priority and HHC was able to achieve the highest level of readiness, as tracked by the Army, for seven consecutive months due in large part to Bryan's leadership," Bonner said.

The general also noted Smith's dedication to making the family readiness group a vital part of the command. "He worked with the new FRG leader to organize and conduct several FRG events that included the recent organization day."

Smith summed up his time as HHC commander as challenging, fulfilling and enlightening. "It's always a challenge when there is no headquarters battalion above you because you have less staff to help you," Smith said. "It was fulfilling because anytime you have the opportunity to take care of soldiers makes the job worthwhile, and it was enlightening because this is a unique organization and command. I've only worked at the battalion level and below. So it was enlightening for me to be working with senior staff, it gave me the opportunity to work on my interpersonal skill and tact."

Bonner said he deeply appreciated Smith's accomplishments and said he is leaving the command in great shape for Miller, who previously served as the plans and operations officer for the 20th CBRNE Command's intelligence section.

"I am pleased to welcome Capt. Ralph Miller and his wife Sarah and their children to the Defenders," said Bonner. "Having already been a part of the larger 20th CBRNE family, Ralph understands the mission and the importance of his duties as Defender 6."

The general said Miller's contributions to the command's intelligence architecture and his ability to establish trust and build relationships will serve him well as the new HHC commander. "I look forward to working with you and seeing all the great things HHC will continue to do under your leadership," said Bonner.

"I think the biggest challenge will be executing command authority of a primarily senior staff," said Miller, a native of Doniphan, Missouri and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

"As an intel officer, you don't often get the chance to take command. So I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to take care of Soldiers."

Smith also had some complimentary words for the new commander. "Out of all the FORSCOM units, this company continues to lead in readiness. I have no doubt Capt. Miller will not disappoint. He will continue to lead this company to the pinnacle of success."