Col. William McKannay assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley from Col. Stephen Shrader during a change of command ceremony on July 16. Ms. Brenda McCullough, Director of IMCOM-Readiness, presided over the ceremony via video conference due to COVID-19 restrictions that prevented her attendance. Others watched a livestream of the ceremony on www.facebook.com/FortRiley.
The ceremony included the traditional last ride for the outgoing commander, with the official party of Col. Shrader, Col. McKannay and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Speichert, garrison command sergeant major, arriving on horseback and led by the 1st Infantry Division Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard.
Following the customary passing of the colors from Col. Shrader to Col. McKannay, Ms. McCullough began her remarks by noting the unusual circumstances.
“It is important however, that we maintain the time-honored traditions of the Army,” she said.
“It is a privilege to be a small part of this tradition as we salute Col. Stephen Shrader, an outstanding garrison commander, for a job well done and celebrate the arrival of an equally outstanding Soldier, Col. William McKannay, to assume leadership of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley, home of the Big Red One.”
She cited Fort Riley’s many accomplishments and awards earned by the installation as proof of the high level of Shrader’s leadership.
“Col. Shrader’s contributions will have a lasting impact on Fort Riley, but I know Stephen would tell you that the installation team is responsible for these accomplishments,” McCullough said.
Among those accomplishments are the signing of Intergovernmental Support Agreements with the City of Manhattan, Kansas State University and the Kansas Traffic Safety Office that have saved $195,000; and Fort Riley earning major awards, such as the Army Communities of Excellence Bronze Award, Installation Management Command Child Youth Services Team Award of Excellence and an Army Exceptional Organization in Safety award for 2019.
McCullough thanked Shrader and his family for their contributions to Fort Riley and IMCOM, noting, “Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division are truly gaining one of the best.”
Shrader will be the chief of staff for the 101st AD in his next assignment.
McCullough then turned her attention to the incoming garrison commander.
“Like Col. Shrader, Col. Will McKannay is a proven leader,” she said. “He is ideally suited to lead the Fort Riley team as they support the priorities and requirements set by Maj. Gen. (John) Kolasheski and IMCOM priorities set by Lt. Gen. (Douglas) Gabram. Will and Deidre (McKannay), I welcome you to IMCOM. I am fully confident that you will lead this garrison with the same professionalism, pride and expertise that you have demonstrated throughout your career, and you will complete the projects started by Stephen Shrader, and start the projects that you and the senior leadership determine are the most critical for Fort Riley.”
Shrader began and closed his remarks with a statement he heard when he first arrived and said he’s repeated thousands of times in the last two years, “Fort Riley represents the best place to live, train, deploy from, come home to and retire.”
Shrader thanked the civilian employees, claiming, “You all are what make this formation great. You’re the heart and soul of the installation.”
He encouraged the incoming commander, as well, adding, “I know you’re going to be the smarter, better, faster, stronger garrison commander that’s going to take the installation to the next level.”
McKannay then addressed his new command.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to take command of an historic garrison,” he said. “I commit to give my absolute very best to ensure the readiness of our service members and the best care for them and their families.”
“As I assume this role, I recognize the significance of the relationships with fellow commanders, leaders on Fort Riley and in our highly supportive communities of the Flint Hills region. These partnerships are essential to mission success and I look forward to maintaining the excellent bonds that Col. Shrader and his predecessors have nurtured. I will continue tirelessly to invest in these connections that enable us to endure any challenge. Deidre and I look forward to getting to know all of you and forging new friendships.”
Col. McKannay enlisted in the Army in 1988 and earned his commission in 1997 after graduating from Northern Arizona University. His military career has included tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. McKannay is a recent graduate of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
He concluded the event with these words, “In closing, all priorities remain in force. Let’s get after it.”
View a video of the ceremony at https://www.dvidshub.net/video/760162/fort-riley-garrison-change-command-ceremony-july-16-2020