FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Sep. 3, 2020) -- The Army Capability Manager - Army Air and Missile Defense Command (ACM-AAMDC) director billet transitioned from Col. Anthony Behrens to Col. Curran Chidester during a change of charter ceremony on Old Post Quadrangle Aug. 31.The ACM-AAMDC acts as the Army’s centralized manager for Army air and missile defense commands and subordinate air defense artillery warfighter activities.Further, the ACM-AAMDC is the senior integrator, responsible for synchronizing and coordinating doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policies to develop, sustain and support air and missile defense commands and their subordinate defense organizations.As a prelude to the morning’s formal change of charter ceremony, the socially-distanced and masked audience stood and gathered underneath the leafy green canopy of several oak and sugarberry trees to witness the presentation of the Legion of Merit to Outgoing Director Behrens.Change of Charter ceremony host Col. Richard Harrison made the presentation. Harrison is the Commandant of the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) School, Chief of ADA, and Deputy Commanding Officer of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill.In remarks made prior to pinning the medal onto Behrens’ uniform, Harrison praised the outgoing director’s “amazing job” as ACM-AAMDC, while referring to Behrens as a change agent for the ADA branch.The 44th ADA School commandant then recognized “all the hard work Tony and his entire team have done to put modernized equipment in the hands of our warfighters, and he’s done that with distinction.”“In the past two years, Tony has brought about new systems, new capabilities, things that we thought about (just two years ago) as futuristic, but which are now in the Army (and fielded) today,” Harrison said. Those changes have given us a distinct edge over our adversaries, and made things more problematic for them, Harrison added.At presentation's end and once the audience had returned to their seats, ceremony participants assumed their positions on the historical OPQ parade ground, where myriad ceremonies have been held since Fort Sill was established in 1869.The most eagerly anticipated element to enter the parade ground was Fort Sill’s fabled Artillery Half Section, a mounted unit and recreation of World War I era light batteries of horse-drawn field guns.Staff Sgt. Kevin Morales, noncommissioned officer in charge of the half section, presented a farewell bouquet of red roses on behalf of the AAMDC Army Capability Management Team’s Soldiers and civilians to Princess Kang Behrens.Princess reciprocated with traditional gifts of carrots and apples for the horses, and adult beverages for the Soldiers of the half section.Morales then presented a welcome bouquet of budding yellow roses to Liza Chidester, and a single yellow rose to Col. Chidester’s mother, Robin.Harrison, Behrens, and Chidester made up the official party.After introducing the distinguished guests, Harrison welcomed everyone and began his remarks.“This change of charter ceremony represents the transfer of the special trust and unique responsibilities we place upon the director of the ACM-AAMDC,” he said.“The ACM-AAMDE oversees and integrates all program development. He also supports the warfighter capabilities of four AAMDCs (three active, and one Army national guard) and 10 ADA brigades (7 active and three Army national guard).“Additionally, he maintains and supervises thesustainment and development of five Acquisition Category 1 critical air and missile defense programs, totaling over $15 billion annually, to ensure the air defenders have the most advanced weaponry to bring to bear on our enemies.“With a portfolio as large as that, communication between units, agencies, and Army senior leaders - and with leadership down and across his organization - has been vital to Tony’s success with such a large responsibility.“Which reminds me of Fires 50 No. 39 which states that ‘Leadership is a contact sport that requires daily interaction.’ (Col.) Tony Behrens masterfully led his team through daily interactions, earning him the nickname of ‘TDY Tony’ because of his countless trips leading his team.“Over the past two years, Tony has put endless defense forces at the tip of the spear for modernization and development.“Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) will integrate air and missile defense sensors and shooters in a multi-domain operating environment, so that the planning and employment across all Army integrated air and missile defense systems and formations are rapid and effective; essentially connecting the best sensor to the best shooter, enabling the best headquarters or command and control node to conduct the engagement.“Tony (Col. Behrens), you’ve driven change and set the standard in the continued development of THAAD and Patriot integration across platform employment, and commanders will have significantly more options to defend Soldiers, allies, partners, and critical assets because of your efforts.“Tony is staying here at Fort Sill and will serve as the Capability Development Integration Directorate (CDID) director.“As soon as we send one great leader off, we get another great replacement in return. (Col.) Curran Chidester most recently attended the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Canada, as a Fellow in the National Security Program. Prior to attending school, he was the ADA branch chief for the Enlisted Personnel Division, Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.Fort Sill marks Harrison and Chidester’s third shared duty station since 1998. They first met that year during a three-year tour in Hawaii, when both were assigned to 1st Battalion, 62nd ADA, and Chidester was a second lieutenant.What Harrison remembers most about Chidester back then was his energy, his passion, his drive - even as a young lieutenant who sometimes slept nights in his office if he had to, to get things done.“He was always out front, leading the other lieutenants; he really stood out as the one to watch. I knew back then that we had a great one on our hands, and that he would be a great senior leader for our branch.”As his brigade commander, “I passed Curran the battalion colors for 1-62nd ADA, signifying his assumption of command of the battalion 17 years later at Fort Hood, Texas. I watched him command with distinction for two years, and I’m confident he will achieve greater heights.“Curran, I have the full faith and confidence in your ability to continue the tremendous effort that Tony and the team did in support of Fires 50 No. 7, ‘Never fight a fair fight.’ Under your capable leadership, our branch will continue to fight - and win - unfair fights against our enemies.When Harrison was asked after the ceremony to predict, based on his own observations and experience with Chidester, what his new ACM-AAMDC’s career path might hold, Harrison said, “What Curran will bring to our branch is capability that we’ve not had in our formation, ever. He’ll be successful these next two years here in this assignment, and then the Army will be open for him. He could go on to work at CDID, like Behrens has just done, or he could work at our ADA branch, or at Department of the Army level, or at the joint level. Curran has tremendous capabilities to work at the joint level, so perhaps a joint assignment after his current one is in his future.”Behrens began his farewell remarks by recounting his combat experience in the Iraqi desert in 2003.“It was early 2003, and I was a battery commander in the desert, preparing my unit for battle with Iraq.“We were the first to deploy the latest gear of the Patriot missile system - new interceptors, better radars, and more complex command and control - the best capability the Army could offer.“We’re partnered with capability developers, acquisition professionals, and industry leaders to deliver critical warfighting capability to warriors everywhere. Without fail, these dedicated Americans influence capability development to resource our air and missile defense forces, to be the most agile, effective, accurate, and lethal in the world.“In two short years, I’ve observed this team of teams’ collective commitment as they’ve developed and sustained the critical mission capability of Patriot and THAAD batteries, ADA battalions, brigades and AAMDCs forward deployed to over 45 tactical locations, right now, to safeguard our national security and global interests.”This represents “the culmination of a decade of dedicated effort into the most significant advancement into how we fight in over 40 years across our Army. And we’re supported by incredible Fires leaders who provide the vision and direction to be successful.Behrens closed his remarks “by saying this, as the new CDID director: ACMs do not serve internally. Their focus is on the force."“To serve the force, they must routinely and effectively influence strategic levels. They are national influencers, and their impact serves a greater legacy.“ACM directors may not carry the designation of commander, and they may not command thousands of troops, but - make no mistake - their mark on the Army and joint force, and on every warrior and family they touch carries the distinct and deafening roar of liberty and freedom that can’t be measured in the size of a formation that they lead, but is characterized by the assured success of our nation.“They’re true influencers. They influence by being the eyes, the ears, and the voice of our tactical, operational, and strategic leaders.“And our warriors, our field artillery and air defense artillery ACMs and their expert teams lead, serve, and sacrifice on every level. They and their families directly influence the success of our security and the cause of freedom, and I am deeply humbled to have served alongside these incredible Army influencers.”Chidester thanked his family and friends for attending the ceremony, whether in person or online.“It’s a privilege to have been chosen to lead the AAMDC team and this great organization. The AAMDC team is, has, and will continue to do amazing things across the globe, representing the warfighter.“I’m excited to be a part of that, helping to ensure that Soldiers will never have to fight a fair fight.”While he first served on the training side of post as an Army ROTC Drill Cadet in 1997 and has attended several conferences here, during his 22 years of commissioned service, this is Chidester’s first duty assignment to Fort Sill, and the first time he and his family have been to Oklahoma.The colonel’s grandfather, retired Army Reserve Lt. Col. and World War II veteran Charles Jones, had been stationed here in the early 1950s, and his mother, Robin, who attended her son’s ceremony (as she has all such ceremonies over the past 22 years) would have been a toddler then.Robin said that her son was influenced by his grandfather’s military service and patriotism, and those influences inspired him to seek an Army commission and career.