STUTTGART, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart welcomed Col. Matt Ziglar as its new commander during a change of command ceremony at Patch Barracks’ historic Washington Square, Wednesday, May 19.
He replaced Col. Jason Condrey, who led the garrison as Stuttgart and the rest of the world was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now with the aid of vaccines and mitigation measures, Ziglar aims to transition the garrison to a post-coronavirus reality and a full-reopening.
"The world has changed as a result of the pandemic, but at the end of the day, we will return to a new normal that everybody can look forward to,” he said. “Reopening dining in, shopping, travel and all of the services that we expect from the garrison is our first priority.”
Ziglar has been in the community for the past year as a member of Special Operations Command Europe, and is uniquely qualified to carry on the garrison mission of providing for the welfare of nearly 28,000 service members, civilians and their families.
“I feel that I know the community to some extent, having been able to visit seven or eight times TDY, and now being here early for this assignment, it has absolutely prepared me -- but I continue to learn every day,” he said.
Ziglar commissioned into the Army after graduating from the University of Montana in 1998. Over the course of his 22-year career, he has held several positions including becoming the first officer in charge of the assessment and selection programs for civil affairs and psychological operations, Battalion executive officer for the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), Field Grade Assignment Officer and Branch Chief for Civil Affairs, and the Battalion Commander for the 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne).
It was his prior visits as a Civil Affairs Battalion commander that made U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart his first choice of potential assignments.
"I was fortunate to visit here many times during my battalion command, and I knew that this would be a terrific place to bring my family," said Ziglar.
"I’m a big fan of the Stuttgart motto, ‘I am glad I live here.’ It absolutely captures both my personal opinion and my family’s,” he said. “Even in COVID times, we have valued the ability to live in the stairwell and be a part of the Stuttgart community.”
Condrey, after passing the guidon to Ziglar and signifying the official transfer of command, also reflected on the motto, admitting he "had to scratch my head" at it upon taking command, considering "it was unlike any rally cry or call to arms in any unit I had served or been associated with."
But in the wake of the pandemic, "I had no idea how my understanding and the meaning of that phrase would evolve," said Condrey, who recognized garrison staff, mission partners, and volunteers like those keeping commissary shelves stocked and critical services operational. "This community rose to the occasion in a way that constantly reminded me why I am glad we live here."
"I know that this community will embrace you and your daughters as you transition from being part of the community [and] into command," said Condrey to Ziglar and his family.
Condrey’s next assignment will be as Executive Officer of Installation Management Command in San Antonio, but he said the opportunity to lead the Stuttgart military community throughout COVID-19 will always be a highlight of his career.
"In two years of command, I have not even scratched the surface on the knowledge, experience and talent that comes together to support this community every day," said Condrey. "I continue to stand in amazement at how you made the improbable routine."
Public Affairs Specialist Bardia Khajenoori contributed to this story.