By Marcie C. Wright, Monitor Staff (Fort Bliss)July 22, 2010
The Soldiers of Fort Bliss are in new hands after the post's senior change of command ceremony held on Noel Parade Field, July 9.
The ceremony, steeped in military tradition, was presided over by Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, and signified Bliss' farewell to its much accomplished senior commander of more than two years, Maj. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, and welcomed Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard as the new leader.
Bromberg ruled over Fort Bliss during the season of transformation, which is the largest in the Army. A key element in transforming the post was the relocation of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School and Center to Fort Sill, Okla., a process of which Bromberg ensured the completion 15 months ahead of schedule. The post has also witnessed mission expansion in mobilization and deployments, having activated, trained and mobilized more than 10,000 joint warfighters under Bromberg's authority.
During his tenure here, Bromberg broke the seal on new programs for renewable energy, supported Soldier and family readiness, and promoted childhood education. He recognized the transformation of Fort Bliss means new troops will train and live here and he allocated funds for mass construction and remodeling projects for housing, child care, health care and training ranges.
The enthusiasm Bromberg showed for renewable energy and conservation put Fort Bliss in the forefront, making it the Army's Center for Renewable Energy. As a result, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center hosted the first Renewable Energy Rodeo and Symposium in June.
As a result of Bromberg's mission to support the growing population on Fort Bliss, a new Soldier and Family Care Clinic, a dental clinic incorporating orthodontic care and an urgent care clinic were opened. The additions of new facilities not only provided more care for the Soldiers and families, but also created job opportunities. More than 600 positions were filled at William Beaumont Army Medical Center alone as a result of its recent expansion.
Other accomplishments during Bromberg's command include the construction and opening of many facilities promoting education, comfort, modernization and fitness, including Colin Powell Elementary School, the Milam School Age Services facility, new housing developments, and the largest gym in the Army. After careful analyzing, Bromberg petitioned and Bliss was granted $400 million in funding for the modernization and transformation of its ranges.
Leaving this post at such a critical time, Bromberg announced his confidence in the abilities of Pittard and his wife to carry the torch, calling them "the right leaders at the right time to launch this post further into the future."
Pittard, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and an El Paso native, comes to Bliss from Fort Monroe, Va., where he served as the deputy chief of staff of operations and training at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
The first word from Pittard after receiving the colors was a loud and enthusiastic Army "Hooah!"
As Fort Bliss' commanding general, Pittard gave his first command during the ceremony: "Rest," putting the formation at a relaxed state as he gave his remarks, thanking God for the opportunity to serve in this position and noting how good it felt for him to be home again.
"To be back in El Paso where I grew up is an absolutely amazing feeling," said Pittard. "We have a lot of family history here, making it such a unique honor and privilege to take command of Fort Bliss."
Pittard let the formation and guests know of his intentions to continue the renewable energy efforts here and shared his vision of future Fort Bliss being the top choice for Soldiers and their families across the Army.
"Fort Bliss will become an example for our nation to follow on renewable energy," said Pittard. We already have a great foundation to build on, but there is still so much to be done.
"You have my solemn promise that I will not rest until Fort Bliss is the absolute premier post in our Army," continued Pittard, "and I am ready to get started. So strap on your seatbelts and let's go! "