The 300th Military Intelligence Brigade, Utah Army National Guard, conducted a change-of-command ceremony at the Lundell Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, Aug. 7, 2022. During the ceremony, Col. Shahram Takmili relinquished command to Col. Cody Strong.
The change-of-command ceremony is a tradition rich in symbolism and heritage. The outgoing commander, Takmili, symbolically relinquished responsibility and authority by passing the brigade colors to the incoming commander, Strong, effectively beginning a new dawn of leadership for the brigade.
Brig. Gen. Charlene C. Dalto, commander, Land Component Command, spoke of the enthusiasm Takmili has for his Soldiers.
“He is passionate about his job and Soldiers,” said Dalto. “Whether it's recruiting or counterdrug, he is concerned about everybody.”
Takmili served as the 300th MI commander for three years, leading more than 2,000 Soldiers in four states. He also served as the Utah National Guard’s counterdrug coordinator, supporting critical law enforcement and intelligence community requirements. Takmili spoke of the important role intelligence plays on the battlefield, touching on the recent death of Ayman al-Zawahri, a senior leader in al-Qaeda responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
“It is because of great intelligence work that these successes are possible on the battlefield,” said Takmili. “You never hear about the unsung heroes who fight in the shadows to protect those in the light. The 300th MI Soldiers are the best intelligence professionals that our nation has to offer.”
Before moving to the 300th MI, Strong previously served as the intelligence programs division chief of the Army National Guard Intelligence Directorate in Arlington, Virginia. He said that his excitement about taking command of the 300th can be boiled down to one reason: the Soldiers.
“In addition to a focus on putting people first, we will build our readiness and value,” said Strong. “We will enhance our partnerships and modernize and create efficiencies within the brigade.”
The 300th MI mission is to provide trained and ready linguists and military intelligence professionals for both expeditionary support and reach operations in order to ensure our nation can fight and win in a complex world. The 300th MI has deployed more than 2,500 Soldiers in support of real-world operations for Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Guantanamo Bay, the Balkans and other missions to provide support in human intelligence, signal intelligence, counter intelligence and other military intelligence disciplines.