SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Commander Lt. Col. Jason Wingeart relinquished command of the Cacti Battalion to Lt. Col. Pete Walther during a change of command ceremony at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, June 1, 2022.
Wingeart assumed command in the summer of 2020 during the height of Covid, and helped guide the battalion through the first Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center rotation that saw Company A, 2-35 IN BN depart Oahu to the island of Hawaii via an Army vessel.
The historic first was just one of the many accomplishments Wingeart and the Cacti Battalion achieved during his time in command, and solidified proof of concept for future JPMRC rotations for the 25th Infantry Division
“The things I'll remember the most were watching Soldiers put in the time and effort that pays off in achieving success whether as an individual or as a collective group,” said Wingeart. “I'm proud to be a permanent member of this historic regiment and that we've added our stories to that legacy.
Although Wingeart is leaving the Bronco Brigade, he will remain in Hawaii and serve as the exercise branch chief for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Col. Josh Bookout, the 3IBCT commander, spoke at length about 2-35 Infantry’s accomplishments and highlighted Wingeart’s leadership and commitment to Soldiers during his remarks.
“Jason, you are always out front with your Soldiers. Your tactical and technical ability is the best I’ve seen and you possess the will, determination, and the steadiness leader’s envy,” said Bookout. “Your empathy for and understanding of Soldiers and their challenges is unrivaled. The Cacti had no greater advocate and they are tightly bonded because of it."
Although Wingeart’s departure will be felt throughout the battalion, it also paves the way for Walther to join 3IBCT.
Walther joins the Bronco Brigade from Washington DC where he last served as an operations officer for the Joint Interagency Task Force National Capital Region.
“To the Soldiers of Cacti, I am honored and humbled to be a member of this team,” said Walther during his change of command remarks. “I will earn the privilege to command this battalion every day. Sharing the hardships with you, shoulder to shoulder with you, and ready to take arms when the nation calls.”
Walther’s assumption of command comes at a critical time for 2-35 Infantry, the Cacti Battalion will deploy to Indonesia this summer for exercise Garuda Shield as part of the Operation Pathways series.