FORT KNOX, Kentucky – Brigade-level change of command ceremonies typically involve the pomp and circumstance that has been requisite tradition for centuries. However, most standard brigades in the U.S. Army command five subordinate battalions and one headquarters company or troop.
The 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky oversees the operations of five subordinate active-duty battalions, five U.S. Army Reserve component battalions, the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, and the Reserve Brigade Support Element. On Thursday, the formation assembled at Fort Knox’s Brooks Field may not have contained a huge number of Soldiers, but it certainly made an impression, with ten organization colors and the National and brigade colors presented.
Maj. Gen. Mark H. Landes, commanding general, First Army Division East, presided over the atypical unit’s change of command ceremony, relinquishing Col. Timothy M. Gallagher from his 24-months in command, and welcoming Col. Karen A. Baker as the new “Saber 6.”
“Looking out over the field and seeing all the Stetsons and spurs, you can really see the pride in the unit, and I’m really proud of all you have done,” Landes began his speech. He refers to the unit’s ability, as an Army Heraldry-identified Cavalry unit, to wear a Stetson hat and, for those of which they have been earned, traditional spurs on their boots during formal events.
“It is my honor and privilege to host this change of command ceremony and, especially, to recognize the efforts of this great organization,” he continued.
Gallagher’s leadership was instrumental in helping First Army, its second-higher superior command, to expand the manner in which it addresses the vital partnership between the brigade and its U.S. Army Reserve partners. His love of Army heritage and customs also inspired Saber teammates to invest in optional Cavalry uniform items, including the historic Stetson.
“I hope that this organization can continue to embrace its heritage as a Cavalry unit. We had a great spur ride [a tradition following which participants can earn their spurs] that had a direct effect on esprit de corps. I enjoy hearing new people arrive say that they are looking forward to earning their spurs,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher and his family will not leave Fort Knox, however, following his departure from command. He will assume the position of Chief of Staff, 1st Theater Sustainment Command “down the street” from his former stomping grounds. Remaining on Fort Knox allows his wife Brigette, a stalwart champion of the families of the 4th CAV and surrounding area, to continue her outstanding work, and for his son to graduate from Fort Knox Middle/High School.
Gallagher’s parting advice to the Saber Brigade? Simple: “what we do matters. Time that our Observer, Coach, Trainers (OC/Ts) spend away from their families is vital to the strength of our nation.”
He speaks to the heart of the 4th CAV mission which sends subject matter experts hand-selected to serve as OC/Ts across the nation to validate U.S. Army Reserve partner units in advance of mobilization in support of contingency operations worldwide. Without the 4th CAV and its other First Army sibling brigades, Reserve and National Guard units would not be able to deploy.
In his speech to those assembled, Gallagher informed the crowd that Baker had replaced him once before. While both officers are logisticians by trade, and the Army is a “small world’, as many say, to replace each other twice in one career is remarkable.
Gallagher’s parting advice to Baker is to “chart the course and identify the one big thing you want to impart onto the brigade. Then spend the entire time [of your command] steering the ship towards it.”
Baker comes to 4th CAV after serving as the G4 Chief of Sustainment for 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea, and as a student at The Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.