FORT SILL, Okla. Nov. 21, 2019 -- As the officer saber passed from one air defense artillery (ADA) leader to the next, the symbol of authority and power came to reside in the hands of the one who will lead the branch's warrant officer cohort into the future.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) Mitchell Brown accepted the position of leadership from Col. Mark Holler, ADA School commandant and chief of ADA, during a change of responsibility ceremony Nov. 20, at Snow Hall.

Brown takes over for Chief Warrant Officer 5 Eric Maule who will retire after 30 years of service and 19 months as the chief warrant officer of the branch (CWOB).

"Chief Brown assumes responsibility during a time of significant change for our Army and branch," said Holler. "Your qualifications, your skills and most importantly, your reputation, make you the right leader for the job."

The colonel said he looks forward to working with Brown "as we bring solutions in the areas of doctrine, training, leader development, and personnel for air defense artillery."

Holler opened his remarks calling the love and support of family members vital to a Soldier's success, he then announced the names of family members of the two warrants. The colonel then addressed Maule's impact on the branch.

"Chief Maule is foremost a leader in our branch and Army, and a leader who epitomizes what it means to be a chief warrant officer 5," he said. "He is a very high level critical and creative thinker, and that combination is rare in the Army and what we seek in our leaders."

Holler said Maule's intelligence and efforts led to him implementing many solutions for the many tough challenges in air defense artillery including:
 Spearheading the branch's first warrant officer accessions bonus;
 Driving the effort to instill a direct commissioning to CW2 recently signed by the secretary of the Army; and
 Leading the effort to establish a command chief warrant officer at Space and Missile Defense Command.

Maule was a key component in splitting the Patriot 140E warrant officer Military Occupational Specialty into 140K and 140L MOSs for tacticians and technicians.

"This was desperately needed and will absolutely enhance the readiness of our Patriot force in their high operations tempo," said Holler. "Chief, all I can say is, 'job well done.' You've made a lasting mark on our branch and the Army. I thank you for your 30 years of service and dedication to air defense artillery."

Maule also led an effort to get an accession bonus for Soldiers to become new ADA warrant officers.

Stepping to the podium, Maule thanked God for his wife, Sylvia, who sacrificed much allowing him to purse his 30-year career.

Among the many changes he's seen during that time, Maule drew a respectful laugh for his acknowledgment of learning the hard way why a blank adapter was needed for an M16A1 rifle fired by a left-hander. He also said at first the Army didn't have CW5s, and it took 14 years until there was a chief warrant officer of the ADA branch.

But a defining moment for his career came while standing in formation for a change of command ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas, concentrating on not locking his knees and passing out. He was told Soldiers may fall but the guidon will remain.

"I had an epiphany and realized it wasn't about me. It was about the organization, the branch, the Army," he said.

That gold nugget of wisdom became the cornerstone of his mentality for his career. He added he always tried to overcome the flawed logic of not being at an assignment long enough to make a difference, and in accepting the CWOB position hoped to have one more opportunity to display that ability.

"I knew coming into this assignment I would be the most short-lived chief warrant officer of the air defense artillery branch, and realized this could provide me an opportunity to demonstrate just how much can be done to improve the warrant officer cohort in an abbreviated amount of time," he said.

He said he hoped he was successful and invited others to take that gold nugget and carry it forward to apply to new challenges the Army faces.

Maule then spoke of his oldest son, Sgt. Francisco Maule, whom the CW5 swore into the Army in 2004. When Maule was named a CWOB promotable, at his assumption Francisco was seated in the front row as a staff sergeant promotable.

"I joked if I couldn't turn him into a warrant officer, I didn't deserve to be the CWOB," said Maule.

Now as dad prepared to leave the cohort, his son's record and application is before a board and together they will find out soon whether Francisco will become a warrant officer.

After thanking the crowd for attending the important day for himself and Maule, Brown thanked his wife, Samantha.

"Without your selfless serving these last 28 years of my career and our marriage I would not be standing here today," he said.

Brown then thanked his boss for the honor to serve branch.

"As a chief warrant officer, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the branch and its warrant officers are poised for the future with where our technology is taking us and with the transformations that are coming to the branch," he said. "I will ensure the cohort is ready."

Looking to his predecessor, Brown called Maule "one of the giants whose shoulders I stand on.

"Without what you have accomplished in the job and those before you accomplished my job would be much harder," he said. "You've set me up for success and pushed a lot of boulders across the finish line allowing me to focus on many others that need to be pushed."

Brown said he would build upon Maule's work to get more warrant officers into the branch.

The ceremony concluded with the 77th Army Band brass quintet playing "The ADA March" and "The Army Song."