VILSECK, Germany – Special times call for special measures as the U.S. Army continues with its primary mission: protecting the troops and combating the spread of the coronavirus.

The Dakota Troop, 1st Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, recently conducted their virtual change of command ceremony with U.S. Army Capt. Kirk Porter, the troop's outgoing commander, and Capt. Nicholas Granfield, the troop’s incoming commander, in Vilseck, Germany, April 1, 2020.

“I wish we had the opportunity to see the great Soldiers of Dakota Troop, but protecting our Soldiers from the coronavirus and maintaining our force’s health protection is the number one priority,” said Col. Thomas Hough, the 80th colonel of the regiment, 2CR.

Utilizing Global Video Services, a video conference capability that offers face-to-face meetings from the desktop, the virtual change of command ceremony served as a first for Porter.

“Troop command was incredible,” said Porter, describing his time with Dakota Troop, the Forward Support Troop for 1/2CR. “Command was fast paced [and] challenging with new endeavors every day [along with] the unique responsibility to shape an organization to be the best by positively influencing the lives of Soldiers. It truly is the best job in the Army. I’m going to miss [the] challenge and family we had in Dakota Troop.”

In following the COVID-19 mitigation guidance, many Army leaders have adopted live streaming, teleconferencing and video chatting as platforms to host upcoming promotion and change of command and responsibility ceremonies, ensuring readiness all while protecting the force in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Leadership development is critical for the future of our Army,” said Hough. “Just like our readiness and health protection, we cannot allow COVID-19 to stop the growth of our young leaders.”

Hough along with Lt. Col. Timothy Wright, squadron commander, 1/2CR, Porter’s wife, Madison Porter, and Granfield joined in attendance of the virtual ceremony.

“He is very positive and motivated,” said Porter, describing the incoming troop commander, Granfield. “I have no doubt Dakota Troop is in good hands.”

Soldiers who served under Porter believe that he, too, shares the same characteristics.

“He was one of the best leaders I’ve ever served with,” said Capt. Billy Lacroix, who served as Porter’s executive officer. “He’s smart, tough and a family man.”

Porter, who recently branch transferred to acquisitions, looks ahead, not only to his future endeavors in pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management and systems acquisitions but also with encouraging Soldiers to support each other much like his time with Dakota Troop, especially during the current periods of quarantine and social distancing.

“Positivity is contagious, and we can all benefit from helping each other out,” said Porter.

Hough believes this positivity also extends itself in recognizing and thanking the families who support the regimental troops.

“One thing that we couldn't do in this ceremony is recognize the hard work of Madison Porter and welcome Capt. Granfield's family,” said Hough. “The family keeps the commander grounded and plays an important role in the family readiness groups. From the entire regiment, thank you Madison.”