SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Commander Lt. Col. Uzoma Aniniba relinquished command of the Wayfinder Battalion to Lt. Col. Joshua Long during a change of command ceremony at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, June 3, 2022.
Aniniba assumed command in the summer of 2020 and led the Wayfinders through a rigorous training cycle that culminated with the first Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness rotation in preparation for Operation Pacific Pathways.
During Aniniba’s remarks, he deflected the accolades and recognition bestowed upon him and accredited the battalion’s successes and accomplishments to everyone that supported him over the past two years.
“Thank you to all the Soldiers, NCOs and officers, that I had the privilege to lead during my battalion command,” said Aniniba. “You all were my family, my friends, and my life for the last two years, and I’m extremely proud of everything we accomplished together.”
Aniniba’s next assignment is the III Corps Engineer at Fort Hood, Texas, but more importantly, it reunites him with his wife and daughters that remained in Texas during his tenure in command.
Col. Josh Bookout, the 3IBCT commander, highlighted Aniniba’s technical and tactical acumen that he routinely displayed leading the most complex battalion in the brigade, while also emphasizing his commitment to bettering the lives of the Soldiers and Families in the Wayfinder Battalion.
“Despite all these victories and initiatives, Uza’s greatest accomplishment is the impact he made on the culture, discipline, and camaraderie of the battalion,” said Bookout. “Uza, you and Command Sgt. Maj. Ingle have stressed the importance of living the values found in your acronym for succeed. It is the emphasis you placed on putting people first, always striving for excellence, and being committed to each other and the mission that made your team strong.”
The BEB’s new commander is no stranger to Hawaii, Long joins the Bronco Brigade after serving as the Commandant for Headquarters, United States Indo-Pacific Command.
Similar to Bookout, Long marveled at everything the Wayfinders achieved over the last two years, thanked Aniniba for his methodical handoff, and finished by thanking everyone that helped him reach this point in his career.
“Uza, thank you for all you’ve done for me, for Heather, my family and the Wayfinders,” said Long. “To the leaders across the Bronco brigade and Tropic Lightning Division, thank you for all you’ve shown me throughout my transition. I’m eager to get in the foxhole with you and assist with leading from the front as you all do so eloquently every day.”
Long’s assumption of command comes at a critical time for 29th BEB, the Wayfinders have Soldiers supporting exercises in Malaysia and Brunei, and will send elements to Indonesia later this summer in support of Garuda Shield.