FORT HOOD, Texas - Colonel Bill Hill handed over the reins of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood to Col. Mark Freitag during a ceremony July 1 at the III Corps flagpole.

The mission of the garrison is to support military operations by offering support programs and facilities to Soldiers and family members, including schools, emergency services and deployment and redeployment support.

Hill served as the garrison commander for nearly three years, during which he improved many existing programs that drew numerous accolades to Fort Hood. The garrison's awards include the 2008 and 2010 Deployment Excellence Award, the 2010 Silver Award for Army Communities of Excellence and a number of Department of the Army and Department of Defense-level awards for the post's public affairs, Directorate of Human Resources, Directorate of Public Works, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Staff Judge Advocate and Directorate of Emergency Services offices.

"Bill has done the most respect-worthy work we could ask of any great leader," said J. Randall Robinson, director, Installation Management Command - West. Hill oversaw more than 450 installation improvement projects and used his experience and vision to further transform Fort Hood into a vibrant organization, he added. "Bill, you can depart Fort Hood knowing it's a much better place than when you arrived," Robinson said.

Hill said although there are many awards and big construction projects to be proud of, it's the little things he'll remember the most. Among those "little things" that stood out for Hill were the establishment of an off-road recreation area, hiking and biking trails around post and a bow hunting club. All of these were part of Hill's ultimate goal of changing Fort Hood from an installation into a hometown.

Hill credited his success to the post commanders who have mentored him and to the civilians who are on the ground making things happen for Soldiers, civilians and families. The six senior leaders who have commanded Fort Hood over the past three years, from Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond to Maj. Gen. Will Grimsley, gave Hill the motivation and guidance to get things done.

"They empowered me with the ability to go out and make things happen," Hill said.

As for the civilian employees who keep the directorates and offices going, Hill made sure he took time to acknowledge that they work every day, including nights, weekends and holidays, to support Soldiers and their families.

Hill will be heading to Kuwait and a job with G3, Third Army. Filling his seat is Freitag, who is excited to finally be serving at Fort Hood. "We're so glad to finally be here at the Great Place ... there's obviously something very special about Fort Hood," he said. "I truly look forward to discovering the greatness of the Great Place."

Freitag said being in a garrison command slot is the right job for him and there is no place he would rather be than at USAG Fort Hood.

"I fully acknowledge the seriousness and complexity of the garrison command," Freitag said. "I'm ready and I won't let you down."