FORT STEWART, Ga. – Lt. Col. George E. Bolton Jr., commander of the "Panther Battalion," 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, relinquished command on July 13 to Lt. Col. Timothy W. Decker during the squadron’s change of command ceremony on Cottrell Field at Fort Stewart. The Panther Battalion is the last battalion in the “Spartan Brigade,” 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, to undergo modernization later this summer, making the Spartan Brigade the Army’s most modern brigade.
“The last few years were amazing," said Bolton during his final remarks to the formation and distinguished guests. “Timmy and Kim, these are the finest scouts, mortarmen, tankers, infantrymen, staff and supporters in the United States Army. They are tested and proven, dedicated to mission success.”
Bolton is a native of Desoto, Texas, and a 2002 graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002. He has the loving support of his wife, Jacqueline, and three children.
“George, the expert coach and the builder of the house!” exclaimed Col. Ethan J. Diven, commander of the 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, in his remarks during the ceremony as the presiding officer. “You were instrumental in forming teams at echelon. You are committed to realizing that leadership potential is in everyone, believing that a unit is not composed of leaders and Soldiers, but leaders and leaders, all deserving of development.”
Bolton’s time with the brigade marked the end of his military service and will shortly retire with 20 years of active-duty service as an armor officer.
“You and the Panther Battalion tackled the toughest missions,” continued Diven. “Thank you for your investment, your sacrifice, for a career of selfless service and a career field of accomplishing the mission. We are proud of you, proud to serve alongside you. You are always covered by the Shield of Sparta. God speed and God bless.”
Decker is a U.S. Army Armor Officer who commissioned from United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He comes to the unit with his wife, Kimberly Decker, and their three children.
“As one great Army family departs, we’re blessed to welcome another tremendous Army family in team Decker,” said Diven in his closing remarks. “We know collectively you are the right family we need leading this incredible formation. Hold yourself and formation accountable to one another and to our families. We look forward to seeing where you will take this mighty Panther Battalion next.”
Decker and his family are no strangers to the Spartan Brigade where he previously served as executive officer for the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, and the as the brigade executive officer for the 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. His most recent assignment was at U.S. Army North where he served as the Director of the Commander’s Action Group.
“Kim and I are happy to be Panthers,” said Decker in his initial remarks as the new commander. “Thank you for the warm welcome and thank you for your commitment to our nation and to each other. I am proud and humbled to join your legacy.”
Decker ended his speech with his head held high saying: “'Speed and Power’; 'Send Me'; ‘Rock of the Marne’!"