Story and Photos by: Sgt. Broderick Hennington
FORT HOOD, Texas – The 1st Cavalry Division held a change of command ceremony to bid farewell to outgoing commander of 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, “Black Jack”, Col. Ian Palmer, and welcome incoming commander, Col. Chris Kirkpatrick, July 22 on Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas.
Under the command of Palmer, Black Jack fielded M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams main battle tanks and Gext Generation Automatic Testing Systems, which brought the brigade to the front of modernization in the First Team, but it was the climate of positivity and trust that made the most impact throughout the formation.
“Col. Palmer has spent the last two years building combat readiness,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV, 1st Cavalry Division commanding general. “From personnel readiness, maintenance readiness and training readiness, Black Jack is a ready brigade by all measurable qualifiers.”
Richardson smiled as he continued discussing the accomplishments of the brigade under Palmer’s command.
“What makes Black Jack a magic unit, a special unit, what makes it a truly ready unit is the esprit de corps, the unit cohesion and the trust between its teammates.” Richardson said. “Col. Palmer and Command Sgt. Maj. Campbell built a team founded on trust and they invested in people.
Palmer, who relinquished his post as brigade commander and is assuming the role of III Corps chief of staff, took to the podium to address the Troopers of 2nd Brigade for the final time.
His message, an emotional reminder to maintain trust in his teammates standing in formation.
“Black Jack, you are not alone,” Palmer said as tears filled his eyes. “The good times are better, and the bad times are not as bad when you share them together. Being a Soldier means trusting others to have you back and having theirs in return. We are stronger together, the Black Jack way.
Palmer’s emotion was not reserved exclusively for the Troopers. He and Kirkpatrick maintain a friendship which dates to their time spent in 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“Ian, thank you so much for a top-notch transition,'' Kirkpatrick said. “I assure you, yours was much better than mine was to you eight or nine years ago. I look forward to having you just down the street where we can continue to share stories.”
Kirkpatrick inherited one of the most modern units in the United States Army from Palmer and displayed pride with his first address to the unit.
“Black Jack Troopers, you are members of the most modern, lethal organization on the planet,” Kirkpatrick said. “You are always courageous, audacious and victorious. Until today I was jealous of every one of you. Today I am humbled and fiercely proud to join your team. I am All-in.”