FORT RILEY, Kan. – The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, held a combined change of command ceremony on July 15, 2022, at the installation’s Cavalry Parade Field following the brigade’s return from a nearly 12-month deployment to Europe.
The ceremony was held to honor outgoing and incoming commanders of 1st ABCT’s 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, and the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, as well as to honor the outgoing and incoming command sergeants major of the 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., and the 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt.
“This is a day of tremendous and often conflicting emotions for our outgoing command teams,” said U.S. Army Col. Brian E. McCarthy, commander of the 1st ABCT. “They should feel an incredible sense of accomplishment, yet also a bit of sadness as they hand off the battalion colors for the last time.”
The 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., outgoing commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew R. Kelley relinquished command to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Bondi. U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Joshua Z. Perkins assumed responsibility of the battalion from U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Joshua V. Owen.
In June of 2021, the 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., “Iron Rangers”, deployed in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to reassure our NATO allies and to deter hostile aggression. The “Iron Rangers” conducted operations in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, and Germany. As the geopolitical environment changed in February 2022, the “Iron Rangers” protected the NATO eastern front.
The 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., outgoing commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth P. Selby, relinquished command to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Aaron E. Adams. U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Neal P. Cooper assumed responsibility from U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Christopher Albanese.
During the summer of 2021, the 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., “Dreadnaughts”, deployed to Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to train alongside European allies. As the tip of the spear in training the Polish Army on the M1 Abrams tank, the “Dreadnaughts” set the stage for a more defensible Europe and a more robust NATO ally.
The 3rd Bn., 66th Armor Regt., outgoing commander, U.S Army Lt. Col. Paul D. Godson, relinquished command to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Noble B. Wonsetler.
The 3rd Bn., 66th Armor Regt., “Burt’s Knights”, recently redeployed from Lithuania where the battalion trained with soldiers and leaders from over 15 different NATO nations throughout Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. The battalion’s efforts assured our allies, deterred enemy aggression, and defended the far reaches of NATO’s eastern flank.
The 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., outgoing commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Samuel J. Nirenberg, relinquished command to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alex A. Aquino.
First organized in January 1776, the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., “Hamilton’s Own”, remains the oldest U.S. Army unit on active duty, and was led by one of the nation’s forefathers, Alexander Hamilton. The battalion has performed the role of indirect fires in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and most recently deployed to support our NATO Allies in Europe.
McCarthy bid farewell to his outgoing battalion commanders during the ceremony. “Matt, Ken, Paul, Joe, and I have commanded all three of the [Regionally Aligned Forces] ABCT missions and were a part of the response to the largest ground invasion in Europe since D-Day. I am honored to have stood there alongside you and your Soldiers.”
McCarthy also embraced his new command teams. “To our new commanders, Matt, Aaron, Noble, and Alex, welcome to the team. We’re fired up to have you and are excited to see where this next chapter takes America’s First Brigade.”