Era of leadership comes to a close at Fort Bliss

By Jean HanJuly 24, 2023

The moment the garrison colors passed from Col. James Brady’s hands to the hands of Col. Brendan Gallagher, one era came to a close and a new one began.

A tradition as old as the Army itself, Fort Bliss conducted a change of command ceremony on July 18 to honor the service of the outgoing garrison commander and officially transfer authority to the incoming garrison commander.

Presiding official Brenda Lee McCullough, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command Directorate-Readiness, delivered high praise for Brady’s “unwavering, can-do selfless attitude” as a true servant leader and attributed him for Fort Bliss’ continuous success over the past two years.

“I know how much you care for the garrison team and the soldiers and families you support. I’ve heard countless positive feedback…and you’ve truly lived up to your slogan of ‘I care, and I will sweat for you,’” said McCullough, “and I know how much the garrison team is going to miss your never-ending effort in leading Fort Bliss to be at the forefront of improvements and modernization for energy resiliency.”

McCullough went on to highlight some of Brady’s greatest accomplishments during his command at Fort Bliss from July 2021 to July 2023.

“Almost immediately upon assuming command, Col. Brady was given the burden, unlike [never] seen before, of leading the garrison through Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome,” she said. “With only a few days’ notification, Col. Brady coordinated and oversaw the rapid establishment of Doña Ana village, and made his preparations for the reception, transportation, life support, and onward movement of over 11,000 Afghan guests and support for over 9,000 DoD interagency and volunteer personnel.”

“His contributions to these operations include spearheading the construction and upkeep of over 100 temporary living facilities, the establishment of four dining facilities that served approximately 41,000 plates per day, the placement of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service annex on site to boost guest morale, and the construction of two community religious support centers to support our Afghan guests,” she added.

McCullough also commended Brady for his focus on housing initiatives that “diligently and dutifully maximized community partners to ensure the quality of life of all soldiers and families."

Brady oversaw one of the largest military housing privatization projects in the Army, consisting of over 4,200 dwellings, and a first-of-its-kind solar array project. He also collaborated with the Department of the Army G-9 and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army to secure $20 million for immediate project execution for community facilities and established an unprecedented housing program that gave Soldiers a true voice – a series of monthly walking town halls led by Brady himself.

In his final address, Brady expressed tremendous gratitude to all the people that “supported our incredible missions with excellent teamwork, energy, commitment, and loyalty."

“You know, that’s going to be a common theme that I’m going to say throughout my comments – ‘thank you’ – because the work that the garrison does is tough,” he said. “You’re dealing with people trying to meet their needs and trying to prioritize resources [in order] to do that, which can sometimes be challenging but also very rewarding, so I want to say thank you.”

Throughout his remarks he took the time to directly thank nearly a hundred individuals by name: his deputies and the directors and support office chiefs of the garrison civilian workforce; city partners and leaders of local military-affiliated organizations and non-profits in the El Paso community; Army Materiel Command and IMCOM enterprise partners; military leaders that supported the garrison, including current and past 1st Armored Division commanding generals, deputy commanding generals, and brigade commanders, and more.

“I’ve got to recognize these people because they are the best secret to my success. I could not accomplish the mission I have without them,” he explained.

Recounting large-scale missions like Operation Allies Welcome and the COVID-19 pandemic, he proudly said, “We did all that, all the while [continuing] our mobilization mission – the largest in the Army.”

“We have in upwards of 70,000 people transiting through Fort Bliss, just in the national guard and reserve forces that come [to Fort Bliss], where we have 35,000 service members – that is a large mission,” he elaborated. “That mission kept on going and our base support functions continued without a change in our level of service. That is a testament to the workforce.”

He closed by thanking his parents for showing him “the benefits of being a military dependent and how we must contribute to our communities and make them better” and his wife for her support, “I owe you my happiness and salvation for your love and commitment to me and our children…you’ve done so much to prepare me for this garrison command.”

Before signing off as ‘Bliss 6’, he assured everyone in attendance that Gallagher is “ready to take this mission to the next level."

Brady moves on to join McCullough at IMCOM headquarters as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7.

Gallagher comes to Fort Bliss from the Pentagon, where he served as Chief of the Collective Training Division on the Army Staff, G-3/5/7.

He thanked Brady for providing a smooth transition. “Your care for the entire community here has been apparent since day one. I thank you for all you’ve done and for setting conditions for the Garrison’s continued success.”