ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Blue skies, a refreshing breeze and a pair of American bald eagles flying overhead marked the beginning of Col. Scott D. Kimmell's tour as commander of the Army Environmental Command. The auspicious signs also marked the casing of the organization's colors as USAEC prepares to leave Aberdeen Proving Ground for its new home at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

In a ceremony at McBride field on May 6, Kimmell received the organization's colors from Col. Maria R. Gervais through the hands of Installation Management Command's commanding general, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch. In his remarks Lynch said that he has no doubts Kimmell will do a magnificent job of commanding the Army Environmental Command. He also had warm words of farewell for Col. Gervais.

"In 32 years of Army service I have yet to come across an Army officer more dedicated than Maria Gervais," said Lynch. "I see great things in her future."

For now, Col. Gervais is preparing to report for her new assignment in Iraq. Col. Kimmell will complete the work she began and take the USAEC to its next level of success in ensuring Army environmental programs support mission readiness and promote quality of life for Soldiers, Army Families, the workforce and the community surrounding Army installations.

His first job at USAEC is to move the command to its BRAC 2005-directed home at Fort Sam Houston, where the organization's colors will be uncased on May 21, 2010. As commander of USAEC, Kimmell also is responsible for addressing environmental challenges that face the Army, including Soldier training to modern standards, base closure and realignment construction, installation cleanup and growth of the force.

Recognizing every commander stands on the shoulders of the one who came before, Kimmell addressed the former USAEC commanders in attendance at his change of command ceremony. "You have blazed a trail," he said. "I'll do my best to keep lit."

Kimmell is well prepared to take on the challenges ahead of him. Prior to taking command of the USAEC, he served at the office of the Army's Chief of Staff, the headquarters staff at Army Materiel Command, and commanded the Newport Chemical Depot in Indiana. Kimmell spent a year in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, and served a tour in Korea.

He has academic degrees in geology and education, and he has completed programs at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Army's War College.