Under a sunny Arizona sky and before an audience of more than 300 guests, Fort Huachuca lost one commander and gained another.

After remarks by J. Randall Robinson, director of Installation Management Command West and hosting official, U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Melissa Sturgeon handed over USAG command to Col. Timothy Faulkner who was formerly stationed here.

Robinson praised Sturgeon for her many accomplishments while assigned as garrison commander describing progress Fort Huachuca made while under her command. Robinson cited examples, including: successful Soldier deployments and redeployments; facilities construction and renovation projects; environmental protection and water mitigation projects; Fort Huachuca's recognition as Arizona's Outstanding Conservation Achievement Award winner for 2007 and Economic Engine honoree for 2008; community teambuilding and partnerships; and in allowing the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District to remain open. Robinson said Sturgeon made Arizona the third state to join the Military Education Coalition Compact. She was also recognized as the Southern Arizona Hispanic employer of the year for 2008.

"Missy, you can depart Fort Huachuca knowing the installation is better than when you arrived," Robinson said. "Your leadership, energy and vision clearly exemplify 'Army Strong' Your legacy will continue in lives of those who have been under your command and the Soldiers, civilians and families whose lives you have touched. Thank you for making the Army a better organization."
Robinson then welcomed Faulkner who had previously served as an unmanned aerial vehicle officer here and is already familiar with the installation. Robinson cited Faulkner's experience at the installation level and his understanding of the critical importance of Fort Huachuca's support to the Soldier. "Timothy Faulkner ... has deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Story, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom."

During her final speech as garrison commander, Sturgeon thanked the military and civilian installation professionals for their dedication and level of commitment that made the garrison "a true joy to command." She also thanked those who mentored her and the senior leaders under her who helped enhance her leadership skills and facilitated smooth operation of the Fort Huachuca garrison.

"No garrison directorate or office operates alone. We have fantastic partners both on and off the installation. Those commands we support on post are deserving of the best we can provide. I thank each commander and leader for your friendship and cooperation," Sturgeon said.
"Colonel Faulkner, take care of the extraordinary people that make Fort Huachuca special. I hope you enjoy as rewarding an experience as I have here," she added.

Sturgeon went on to thank a few special people, including her administrative assistant, Monica Sierra-Barber, her husband, Col. Robert Akam and her mother.

"I accomplished one of mom's goals - to get married," she said, which drew both the crowd's laughter and applause.

Faulkner was the last speaker to approach the podium.

"After spending the last year at cold Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania I am very grateful to be back at Fort Huachuca after a 14-year absence," He said. "Our boys are enjoying Arizona and glad not to be driving 2300 miles across country anymore."

Faulkner pledged to put energy and commitment into managing Fort Huachuca.

"To all the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, civilians and Family members, you have a leader who will never stop working for you. I guarantee I have the energy and desire to ensure Fort Huachuca is the best post in the United States Army," stated the Newport News. Va. Native..
Sturgeon, who hails from Chicago, departs from San Antonio, Texas to serve as the IMCOM West deputy region director.