By Mitch Meador, Fort Sill TribuneJuly 11, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. (July 11, 2019) -- Command of 75th Field Artillery Brigade passed from Col. Steven Carpenter to Col. Ryan McCormack in a Polo Field ceremony July 9.
As officiating officer, the deputy commanding general of III Corps, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper, cited the grit of the brigade's "Tough as Diamonds" Soldiers in saying, "Steve, this sort of performance doesn't happen by accident. It takes superior leadership, down throughout multiple echelons, to instill a culture of values, fitness, resiliency, readiness, all that it takes to generate lethality."
At an awards ceremony beforehand, Kamper presented Carpenter's wife Kaitlin with the Alice Grierson Award for Excellence and the Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for exemplary contributions and selfless service.
"Kaitlin has given much to the brigade, the brigade's families, and to the community," Kamper said. "She cares. It is a very genuine outpouring to all she comes across and touches."
"It's great to be here. I want to thank God for bringing this guy into my life because without him this would not be possible," Kaitlin Carpenter said of her husband.
The outgoing brigade commander responded at both ceremonies in this fashion, "I want to start my comments by thanking Kaitlin. Nothing that has occurred in my adult life would have been possible were it not for her love, dedication, energy, and prideful commitment towards our family. Kait, thank you for not only taking the time to raise great children, but more importantly great American citizens -- I would not be here today if it was not for you."
Carpenter received the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service from June 7, 2017, through July 9, 2019. Kamper patted him on the back, saying they first met when the two of them deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, where they managed rocket pods down to the individual six-pack in their quest to put an end to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Kamper lavished praise on Carpenter for his subsequent work on a 13-day warfighter exercise in which Carpenter worked 18 hours a day for nine days straight. The results showed on an OPFOR (opposing force) combat chart: "It was just black. The Fires just decimated the OPFOR in the simulation."
Kamper said he and his wife wish the Carpenters all the best as they transition to Virginia and the D.C. area. Carpenter's next assignment will have him working for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
"In the 240-plus-year tradition of our Army, of our profession, as one commander departs another one's always there to take the colors. And today there's no doubt the Army has given us the right officer at the right time at the right place with the right skills and experience to lead this brigade into the future," Kamper said of McCormack, noting his familiarity with the Phantom Warrior team, his combat experience, and his past experience leading and training fires and fires support competencies so that cannoneers can always support maneuver commanders.
The incoming commander is a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
Upon completing Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, he served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. There, McCormack was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 320th FA and served in several developmental leader positions.
McCormack returned here for the FA Captains' Career Course. Upon graduation he was assigned to 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
He initially served as fire support officer for 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. While overseas he assumed command of C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th FA.
In 2005 it was back to West Point, where McCormack was a student in the Eisenhower Leader Development Program.
He later served as a company tactical officer in the U.S. Corps of Cadets and aide-de-camp to the U.S. Military Academy superintendent.
Subsequent assignments included executive officer for 1st Battalion, 94th FA and operations officer for 17th FA Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., followed by command of 2nd Battalion, 82nd FA, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood.
He graduated from Army War College in 2017 and was assigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, where he served in the J3 Directorate as a deputy division chief in the Regional Operations Directorate.