JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va., -- Colonel Patrick M. Roddy Jr. relinquished command of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) to Col. David B. Rowland July 8 in Conmy Hall during the first full-force executed change of command ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic began 32 months ago.
Major General Allan M. Pepin, commanding general, Joint Task Force-National Capital Region/U.S. Army Military District of Washington presided over the ceremony and thanked the guests in attendance, several of whom served with Roddy previously.
“There’s no doubt Col. Roddy and Col. Rowland are experiencing mixed and different emotions, as today marks the end and beginning of command tours and the great honor and responsibility that comes with commanding the Old Guard,” Pepin said. “The Army continues to elect the best for this very important and highly visible command.”
Rowland comes to the joint base from Newport, Rhode Island, where he recently graduated from the U.S. Naval War College. In his remarks he expressed gratitude to the Soldiers of the Old Guard for welcoming him and his family back to the national capital region.
“I’ve only seen a glimpse of what you do in the last few days and it's safe to say you are among some of the most talented Soldiers in our Army,” Rowland said. “I look forward to working with all of you to inspire Americans, to trust the United States Army, build confidence with our allies and partners, honor our veterans, and secure the national capital region.”
“I cannot think of a more capable leader to ensure The Old Guard will be ready for future ceremonial, force protection (and) defense support to civil authorities’ contingencies as well as staffing unforeseen challenges, new risk requirements and opportunities,” said Pepin, describing the 84th regimental commander of the Old Guard. “(Rowland) is a proven leader that our Army has entrusted to execute command responsibilities that are inherent to the Old Guard mission.”
Pepin commended Roddy’s mission-focus and leadership regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, saying under Roddy, the Old Guard adapted to the restrictions and constraints necessary in a pandemic environment while achieving a 98% vaccination rate, putting people first and executing mission command philosophy.
Other accomplishments of Roddy’s include the redesign of a command-focused operational approach to better enable to execution of operations from ceremonies to crisis response.
“Col. Roddy flawlessly served as a joint team capital commander for the 2021 presidential inauguration, where he led units at the U.S. Capitol, White House, Arlington National Cemetery and Andrews Air Force Base during an unprecedented pandemic environment,” Pepin said. “He also served as commander of troops for two national Memorial Day observances, numerous wreath ceremonies and arrivals of foreign dignitaries, several senior general officer retirements and numerous iterations of Twilight Tattoo performances.”
For Roddy, he said he’s most proud of the organization’s culture of agility and innovation. He recalled memories as a young boy living on then-Fort Myer, watching the caisson platoon pass his quarters on their daily journey of laying a veteran to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“The Soldiers have changed over the past 40 years,” Roddy said, “but the missions, standards and values remain exactly the same.”
Perfection is the standard, he said.
“The dedication, professionalism and discipline of these Soldiers holds the weight of this entire profession on their shoulders, in the solemn moment where in their presence we close the chapter with a family’s relationship with their Army,” Roddy said. “In those moments, these Soldiers are ambassadors for all of us in uniform - past, present and future.”
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