The commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Gerald R. Krimbill at an Oct. 21 ceremony held at the Military Women’s Memorial here, followed by Brig. Gen. William B. Dyer III promotion to major general.
“You are in good hands,” said Maj. Gen. William B. Dyer III, in his farewell to his Soldiers, commanders and command staff, and guests, including his family, classmates and professional colleagues.
“We focused over the last 18 months on people,” the general said.
The ceremony was presided over by Lt. Gen. Stuart W. Risch, the 41st Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army.
Dyer, who is set to become the commanding general of the Army Reserve's 108th Training Command, Charlotte, North Carolina, said he had confidence in the incoming commanding general based on their long friendship and previous times working together, which included a tour when they were battle buddies in Afghanistan.
"He is the individual I go to for advice—and I did frequently during the time I was the commander," he said. "I think what you will find, and I have telegraphed to you, is that you should not probably expect a rapid whiplash."
Then, turning to his successor, he said that 18 months ago, he received a note from the three-star general who presided over his taking command at his home in Atlanta.
“That note was simple. It was beautiful,” he said. “I have that three-star note tacked on my bulletin board at my house, and I see it every day. I looked at it pretty much every day for the last 18 months and have not been able to find a single way to improve upon it, so I won't. I will share it with you, my friend, the advice that was given to me 18 months ago, and that is: 'Make it your own.'"
Dyer said he was proud of the changes he brought to the command and how it executed its mission, which is to provide the Army Reserve and Big Army with lawyers, paralegals and legal administrators.
“We focused over the last 18 months on people,” the general said.
The general said he was proud to have effected positive change in the command by empowering people in the command's decision-making and pushing decision authority closer to the operational level.
“Every decision does not need to be made at the top of the organization,” he said.
To reinforce this empowerment, it is vital to back up people making the decisions, the general, who in his civilian career is an intellectual property attorney in Atlanta, said.
Dyer said he looked back at leaders who positively impacted his career and how their trust in him motivated him to do his best.
"I am not in the business of second-guessing," he said. "Everybody in this command, everyone at every level of this command, is smart. Every one of you knows the difference between right and wrong. Every one of you has a moral, legal and ethical compass—if you make decisions based on an understanding of the mission, if you make a decision based on what you think is right, at your level, given the facts that you have, it might not be the decision I like, it might not be the same decision I would make—but, I've got your back."
He said this empowerment was vital to take the command from good to better. "There's a freedom to make decisions and to execute that I think hadn't been felt in a while."
Krimbill addresses his new command
In his remarks to his new command, Krimbill said, “I am extremely excited and equally humbled to assume command of the Legal Command. As you can see from my biography in the program, I have spent much of my career at Legal Command, and this assignment is truly the culmination of my previous experience.”
The general, who is a civilian contract attorney for U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, and served as the Army Reserve Legal Command’s deputy commander (West), as well as other commands and senior positions in the organization, said he prayed that these experiences prepared him for his new role.
“To the Soldiers of the Legal Command, I am truly honored to serve as your commander,” he said. “I want to thank all of you for your continued service to our nation and the tremendous sacrifices you have made.”
Krimbill said he was grateful for the friendship and example given to him by Dyer.
“A large part about what is so humbling about this assignment is following on the heels of Brig. Gen. Bill Dyer,” he said.
Looking at his predecessor, Krimbill said: “I have benefitted more than you will ever know from your mentorship and leadership,” he said. “I could not be more excited for all that awaits you as you move on to this next chapter in your military career.”
Dyer promoted to major general
After the change of command was complete, Risch called forward Dyer and his wife for the pinning of his two-star rank devices.
“He has always left every job significantly better than he found it—a rule that I have always tried to live by—so, I appreciate it when I see it,” the lieutenant general said of Dyer.
“He’s an incredible leader and mentor, and he will do the same things for his new command that he has done for Legal Command,” he said. “But, as good as he is as a leader, he is a better person. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know Bill better in every interaction we’ve had.”
In addition to his new stars, the general was presented with his new general officer flag, which he then unfurled and had placed next to the other flags.
Dyer's promotion was very rare for the Army Reserve's legal community and was part of his leaving the Army Reserve Legal Command to lead the 108th Training Command, meaning that the JAG major general is also taking the rare step of commanding non-JAG, regular troops, Risch said.
The major general made additional remarks after his promotion that were, in effect, his farewell to his regiment and his command.
Dyer said throughout his career he has been gripped with anxiety about new assignments, especially with promotions and jobs with increased responsibilities.
It really hit him upon his promotion to brigadier general, he said. “I was certain, I’m telling you, honestly, I was certain that that’s the place where I was going to be exposed.”
Although he is feeling the anxiety again, he has learned to deal with it with the understanding that a rank is just a tool that the Army gives you to get the job done, he said.
“It is not an admiration. It is not an award. It is not a reward,” he said.
“It is a tool that the Army trusts you with to do things that can’t be done at any other level.”
He also has come to understand that his whole career, the Army has prepared him for his next job, the former Air Force engineer officer said.
"I was prepared for those jobs by the time I was promoted into that rank," he said. "To my surprise, every single time, it worked out alright."
Dyer closed his remarks by acknowledging it was also his last day in the regiment.
Not everyone is happy that a JAG officer was selected over regular officers, and other generals have expressed concern, he said.
“They told me this has raised a lot of eyebrows,” he said. “They told me there is going to be scrutiny. That there might be skepticism.”
The husband and father of two daughters said he welcomed the challenge.
“As they look at me, I know what they’re going to see,” the major general said. “They are going to see you. I am a product of this regiment.”