CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade bid farewell to their command team and welcomed a new one during a change of command and relinquishment of responsibility ceremony here July 10.
Maj. Gen. Viet X. Luong, commanding general, U.S. Army Japan, officiated the ceremony as Col. Patrick M. Costello, the brigade’s outgoing commander, passed the reins to Col. Matthew W. Dalton, and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil H. Sartain relinquished responsibility to acting Command Sgt. Maj. George S. Rupprecht, S3 operations sergeant major.
The 38th ADA Brigade made history Oct. 16, 2018 when it reactivated at Sagami General Depot, Japan after 37 years of inactive service on the 100th anniversary of its inception.
“This is a great opportunity to recognize one of U.S. Army’s stellar organizations, the 38th ADA Brigade ‘Pacific Guardians’ and the tremendous contribution to the defense of Japan and the security of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” said Luong in his remarks. “About two years ago, this brigade stood up. It feels like yesterday I went to visit Col. Patrick Costello at Sagami General Depot in an empty building with no furniture, equipment or comms [communication equipment], and although I am a constant optimist, in my estimations at that point, the challenges seemed insurmountable. In just a short amount of time later, I was surprised when Pat [Col. Patrick M. Costello] told me he was near initial operating capability and soon after that he told me, ‘Sir, we are ready to execute Yama Sakura 77,’ a tall task I had given Pat when we first started this journey.”
Costello, a Charlottesville, Virginia native, led the brigade since its reactivation and was responsible for establishing seamless operations, training, and enhancing integrated air and missile defense oversight in the Indo-Pacific region. The unit’s readiness was evident with successful participation in multiple bilateral and joint training exercises including Shodan Watch, Orient Shield, Yama Sakura, and Keen Edge.
“Commanding this brigade has been the most humbling and rewarding experience in my career,” Costello remarked. “Surrounded by phenomenal leaders, Soldiers and families spread across Honshu, Okinawa, Guam and Hawaii, I stood in awe day after day of the sacrifice, dedication, and professionalism of the entire team. The Soldiers that I have had the privilege to serve are some of the best the Army has to offer. They themselves created the systems, processes, and organization that led this headquarters from nothing to a fully-functional air defense brigade headquarters capable of fully supporting our mission for the mutual defense of Japan.”
The 38th ADA Brigade guidon passed from Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain, the outgoing senior enlisted advisor to the brigade commander, to Col. Patrick M. Costello, symbolizing his loyalty to the outgoing commander. Costello then handed the guidon to Maj. Gen. Viet X. Luong, representing his relinquishment of command to a higher authority. Luong then passed the colors to Col. Matthew W. Dalton, symbolizing the transfer of responsibility to the incoming commander, who then handed the guidon to the acting Command Sgt. Maj., George S. Rupprecht, symbolizing that he will serve as the senior enlisted advisor until the brigade receives their incoming command sergeant major.
Sartain, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, recalled serving with Costello 20 years ago at Fort Campbell and Iraq, and appreciating the bond they continued as the Pacific Guardian Brigade command team. He is not going far as his next assignment is command sergeant major of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, the brigade’s higher headquarters.
“Today we build upon the traditions established by those before us, celebrate the completion of an era of leadership, and look forward to the future as we welcome a new brigade commander,” said Sartain. “Today is not necessarily about individuals, but more about the history of the organization. It is a celebration of success already achieved and those which lie ahead. It is about the colors passed which represent every single Soldier currently serving or that has served in this fantastic brigade.”
Dalton comes to Japan from Fort Shafter, Hawaii where he served as the G3 of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
Dalton, a native of Portland, Connecticut, expressed his gratitude for the privilege of leading the brigade.
“I would like to thank the Soldiers and families of 38th ADA Brigade,” said Dalton. “Soldiers from Kyogamisaki Communication Site [14th Missile Defense Battery], Shariki [10th Missile Defense Battery], the Snake Eyes Battalion [1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment], Echo-3 [E-3 Air Defense Artillery Battery], and Guam [Army] National Guard for your continued sacrifices and selfless service. My family is ready to join the team and we look forward to serving alongside all of you.”
Costello will move on to serve as the Headquarters Department of the Army G 3/5/7 Department Army Military Operations Fires chief at Washington D.C.