SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – The 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, bid farewell to their commander, Col. Stephen J. Kolouch, during a change of command ceremony July 12, on Hamilton Field, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Kolouch relinquished his responsibilities as commander to Col. Margaret L. McGunegle.
“This has been the privilege of my life,” said Kolouch. “Our country is worth fighting for and I am in awe of your willingness to serve something greater than myself.”
Brig. Gen. Jered Helwig, Commanding General of 8th TSC stated the 130th Eng. Bde. accomplished several tasks under Kolouch’ s command.
“Today is bittersweet, as we recognize the great accomplishments of the 130th Eng. Bde. under the control of Col. Stephen Kolouch, and welcome Col. Margaret McGunegle,” said Helwig, who presided over the ceremony. “There is much that goes into the transition of an organization from one great leader to another, and none of it would be possible without the unyielding support of the soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and families of the command.”
“Thank you for being ready, thank you for your courage, and thank you for your pride,” said Kolouch, to the soldiers of the brigade. “We love this brigade and this community. We will treasure our experience.”
During Kolouch’s tenure, the 130th Eng. Bde. conducted missions throughout the Pacific and in support of Pacific Pathways to strengthen ties between U.S. forces and multinational allies and partners.
“The 130th Eng. Bde. has indeed accomplished much,” said Kolouch. “What our units and soldiers do is important. It has an effect. If fulfills commanders’ intent.”
Over the span of two years, the soldiers of the brigade traveled to the Philippines Thailand, Vietnam, Palau, Guam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Republic of South Korea, and Alaska.
Kolouch stated that throughout these countries in the Pacific, the soldiers conducted construction management, construction projects, geospatial, and combat engineering missions in support of the U.S. joint forces, and multinational partners and allies.
“The brigade has provided the Theater Army and the joint force with world class engineering support, all while operating in a COVID-19 environment,” said Helwig. “The brigade provided expert engineering support and training in over 30 operations and across seven countries to support the U.S. Army, joint, and multinational forces. They completed over 25 construction projects, in support U.S. and host nations here on Oahu and abroad.”
During his comments Helwig noted that under Kolouch’s command, the soldiers repaired runways, buildings, roads, trails, mortar pits, elementary schools, and improved ranges.
“To the engineer community here on island, I enjoyed working alongside you to provide better support to our commander,” said Kolouch. “Engineers are sought after, relevant, and trusted to provide solutions to hard problems. Keep working together.”
During his closing remarks, Kolouch signed off and officially relinquished the 130th Eng. Bde. to McGunegle, who spoke to those in attendance and via live stream.
“Col. Kolouch, thank you for a superb transition,” said McGunegle. “The professionalism of the 130th Eng. Bde. staff and leaders is no doubt a direct reflection of your efforts and leadership over the past two years. To the officers, noncommissioned officers, and the soldiers of the 130th Eng. Bde. it is truly a privilege to serve as your commander. I am honored to serve with all of you under the colors of the 130th Eng. Bde. “One team! Sustain the force! Sappers In!”
Kolouch will continue his service as the director of the office of the Chief of Engineers at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.