SEMBACH, Germany — U.S. Army NATO Brigade bid farewell to Col. Miles T. Gengler and welcomed Col. Troy V. Alexander during a change of command ceremony July 7 at Sembach Kaserne.
“This formation of Soldiers looks so good this morning despite the fact that they just traveled from seven different countries across three time zones and barely ever get a chance to train together as a collective unit and is a testament to the professionalism of this brigade,” said Gengler. “While you only see a few, know they are representative of their over 900 brothers and sisters in arms spread across the NATO area of responsibility standing watch along with our Allies and Partners.
“It is because of the work they do that our national leaders can confidently say that NATO will not cede one-inch of sovereign territory in any NATO nation.
“In the past two and-a-half years, you adapted your mission support processes to continue taking care of service members and their families in 37 locations in 21 countries while we all dealt together with the great unknown of a new pandemic sweeping the globe and impacting in different ways in those countries. You dealt with different restrictions, limitations, and lockdowns and kept focused on the mission always looking out for Soldiers and their families wherever they were.
“It was tough, and all of us as a unit and each of us as individuals had our own resiliency challenges - but you maintained focus on our people, on readiness and organizational effectiveness.
“When USAREUR-AF took on new missions, you all took over the support to military exchange officers and SONs and those attending schooling with our NATO Allies.
“You professionally wound down our support to the Resolute Support Mission, you supported Operation Noble Solace, and redeployed our Soldiers, and continued to deploy and redeploy in support of NATO Mission-Iraq.
“And while you were excelling at the mission, you also ensured we professionally said goodbye to two of our fellow Soldiers who unfortunately left us too soon. You cared for their families and made sure their fellow Soldiers serving with them at the NATO Defence College and the NATO Multi-National Division-Southeast were taken care of.
“To those two fellow warriors, we say: Gentlemen, we'll drink again at Fiddler's Green.
“And, then just as we were emerging from the global pandemic there was sabre rattling on NATO's eastern flank and you all once again stepped up to the challenge and adapted the way you support Soldiers and Families who were thrust into a situation of serving in countries neighboring another land war in Europe or of deploying in support of NATO.
“You made good on that promise to not cede one-inch of sovereign NATO territory.
“Through everything, you absolutely brought your A-games every day and won at whatever task you were given,” said Gengler.
Gengler moves to Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The host for the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Michael D. Wickman, U.S. Army Europe and Africa deputy commanding general for Army National Guard.
“Under your leadership, and through the global pandemic, your team of professionals rebuilt the reputation, effectiveness and efficiency of a critical mission-enabling brigade, who provides administrative agency support to seven General Officers, over 30 Colonels, 100 Lieutenant Colonels and their Soldiers,” said Wickman. “You facilitated and empowered your battalion commanders to provide superior Title 10 and direct customer support through clear and concise command lines of effort.
“That outstanding vision and direction led to measurable improvements in readiness, and improved administrative agent and quality of life support to Steady Brigade personnel and families.
“Your soldiers, in-turn, focused their attention on foundation training and crisis response planning, leading to successful combat readiness evaluations during exercises Steadfast Jupiter, Steadfast Jackal, and Steadfast Leda.
“You lowered risk with deliberate planning and rehearsals, facilitating RRC- France's assumption of the NATO Response Force Land Component Command mission, and 2nd NATO Signal Battalion's deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Qatar.
“Steady Brigade's support also proved vital to the preparation of NATO command structure response forces, Joint Force Commands in Brunsum, Naples, and Norfolk, and Multi-National Division units forward stationed and responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, directly contributing USAREUR-AF's Assure and Deter missions on behalf of the alliance,” said Wickman.
Alexander comes to the brigade from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, where he earned a master’s degree in strategic studies.
“To the Soldiers, officers, civilians and families of the brigade, it is not lost on me the sacrifice necessary to support and defend our country in conjunction with our partners and allies” said Alexander. “I am standing here today on the shoulders of giants that have come before me.
“As we move forward together, I strive to use strength of character optimism and teamwork as a bedrock during my command tenure.
“I look forward to working with each and every one of you and getting to know you and your families.
“Together we will continue to provide the premier service and support to those assigned to the NATO mission while anticipating and responding to the transforming needs in the future,” said Alexander.