FORT HOOD, Texas – The III Armored Corps and Fort Hood welcomed a new commander in Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe while bidding farewell to Lt. Gen. Pat White during a change-of-command ceremony Oct. 4 at the III Armored Corps flagpole.
Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, presided over the ceremony.
"Under (Lieutenant General White's) leadership and vision, he's shown us that personal engagement is the driver of readiness enriching the community and the III Armored Corps," Poppas said. "He's been a constant inspiration to the Soldiers, to the families through his dedication to service, and he is a proven warfighter that has fostered a winning attitude at every level."
As Poppas bid farewell and thanked White for his leadership, he welcomed the new commander amid a backdrop of Soldiers and units from across corps.
"Today, III Armored Corps receives another terrific, inspirational commander who also inculcated that winner-attitude at every echelon," Poppas said. "Sean Bernabe is one of those leaders with the drive and professional acumen to inspire and continue to grow this team. He's the right commander, at the right time, and he will continue to build upon this positive culture that permeates Fort Hood and the communities."
Bernabe takes the reins of America's only armored corps following command of 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. An infantry officer and 1992 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he is no stranger to Fort Hood. He commanded the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, here and on rotation to Korea, from 2014 to 2016.
"To the Soldiers, the civilians and the family members of team Hood and to the III Armored Corps, Jayne and I are excited to join your ranks once again," said Bernabe, who is the corps’ 62nd commander. "Let us all pledge to work hard every day to live up to the legacy of our predecessors. Those predecessors who since 1942 ensured that Fort Hood was always a generator of readiness. Those predecessors who since 1918 ensured that the Phantom Corps put fear in the hearts of our enemies and earned the trust and admiration of our allies.”
The ceremony represented the end of White’s more than three-year command of the corps, and during his remarks, he took the time to reflect on what those years have meant.
"We already know that this corps is the most lethal corps in the United States Army," White said. "I think during my tenure as the 61st commander of the III Armored Corps I made it pretty clear that our number one job was to fight and win."
Under White’s guidance and leadership, the corps conducted myriad operations across the globe, to include command of Combined Joint Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, founding of the installation's novel People First Center, and assisting with the refugee mission during Operation Allies Welcome, among others. White gave credit for these major milestones to the Soldiers, civilians and families of III Armored Corps.
"To fight and win, that's our job, but we couldn't do that without our people, because we're a people organization," White said. "We're really here to celebrate the corps’ accomplishment. It's a little bit about White and Bernabe, but it's more about the III Armored Corps. I provided some vision and some leadership, but nothing happens without the Soldiers who are sitting out here."
As the ceremony concluded, the new commander Bernabe closed his speech by thanking those in attendance.
"Jayne and I are honored to serve with you," he said. "My call-sign is Phantom Six, and I am on the net."