71st EOD changes command

By Staff Sgt. Apolonia Gaspar, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) Public Affairs OfficeJuly 14, 2023

71st EOD changes command
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Incoming commander Col. Brennan Fitzgerald accepts the colors from Brig. Gen. Daryl Hood, commanding general, 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command (CBRNE), signifying the beginning of his command during a change of command ceremony at Richert Field on Fort Carson, July 11, 2023. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Apolonia L. Gaspar) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Col. Michael Schoonover relinquished duties as the commander of 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group to Col. Brennan Fitzgerald during a ceremony July 11, 2023, at Richert Field.

Brig. Gen. Daryl Hood, commanding general of 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, presided over the ceremony. Schoonover accepted the group’s colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Randall Markgraf, the group’s senior enlisted leader, and handed them over to Hood, representing the end of his command.

Schoonover deflected any credit and praised his Soldiers. “I could not have been successful without the support of the entire team here in 71st (EOD),” he said. “So, thanks guys."

Schoonover also addressed Fitzgerald, the incoming commander. “Don’t be a boss, be a leader,” said Schoonover. “Don’t try to be perfect, just be human.”

The 71st EOD’s mission is to deploy and conduct operations in support of combatant commanders or other government agencies to counter CBRNE and weapons of mass destruction threats.

Fitzgerald is taking on a vast area of responsibility with the 71st EOD’s units, which are spread across 11 major installations and have mission responsibilities in 23 states as well as overseas contingencies.

“Michael Schoonover is a legend in our small EOD community. There's not a more passionate leader I could wish to follow into command,” said Fitzgerald. “To all the members and Families of the 71st EOD Group, I am honored to have this incredible opportunity to serve alongside and lead you. Your contributions to the legacy of this organization do not go unnoticed and I am excited to see where we can go from here. I will strive every day to be the leader that you deserve.”