FORT LIBERTY, N.C. -- 16th Military Police Brigade held its change of command ceremony, where friends, family, and community partners gathered to say farewell to Col. Sharon R. Lyght and welcome their incoming commander Col. Charcillea "Charcy" A. Schaefer, on Jul. 21st.
Brig. Gen. Colin Tuley, the deputy commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps, spoke about the 16th MP BDE, the Protector Brigade, as one of the most deployed MP brigades in the U.S Army while also expressing gratitude for all of the brigade's accomplishments during the tenure of Col. Lyght.
"To be a brigade commander at Fort Liberty is no easy task. I would add that it's one of the hardest jobs in the Army," said Tuley. "Less than one percent of colonels are selected for this sacred responsibility."
For her next assignment, Col. Lyght will retire after 29 years of faithful service to our Nation. Her service career culminated with her first assignment to Fort Liberty, NC, as the 16th MP BDE commander. Upon arrival, Col. Lyght's impact on this brigade and this installation have been vast. Now she looks forward to spending her retirement on the sunny beaches of Florida.
During Col. Lyght's command, the brigade and its units continuously answered the Nation's call by supporting the Noncombatant Evacuation Operation at Hamid Karzai International Airport (commonly referred to as HKIA), successfully evacuating and caring for 122,000 American Citizens, Afghans, and local nationals, deploying to conduct operations in Romania and Poland in support of Operation European Assure, Deter, and Reinforce (EADR) in response to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"Every time XVIII Airborne Corps has called upon a unit in the 16th MP BDE, they were trained and ready to successfully conduct the mission because all the great leaders and the soldiers, both past and present, are always ready." Lyght said.
Most recently, the Brigade deployed its 549th Military Police Company on a no-notice Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to support Army North.
Incoming commander Schaefer was born in Ipswich, England, into a U.S. Air Force family. Growing up on various Air Force bases stateside and overseas, she was commissioned at the U.S. Military Academy and has served in the Military Police Corps for over 22 years.
"As one great leader leaves, another one arrives," said Tuley welcoming Col. Schaefer. "Your history in challenging assignments in the Military Police branch makes you the perfect person to continue the task of leading the best Military Police Brigade in the Army."
Throughout her career, Schaefer has held positions from platoon to division level and strategic assignments as a Defense Fellow, an Army Congressional Liaison, and a Military Assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Schaefer has four combat deployments encompassing over 45 months in theater, with 23 months advising host nation forces in policing, tactics, and operations.
"I'm humbled and privileged to lead and serve in America's contingency Corps. Our focus; people in warfighting remain steadfast," said Schaeffer. "Together, we will remain the military police and civil affairs professionals our commanders across the Corps can rely on to preserve their combat power and competition crisis in armed conflict at home and abroad."