FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- "As was once written ... How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
Words of thanks from Brig. Gen. LaWarren Patterson, departing deputy commanding general, would resonate throughout his closing remarks during his departure ceremony Friday in front of Greely Hall. Patterson, who served as the second-in-command for the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army) since October 2008, left to take command of the 7th Signal Command (Theater) at Fort Gordon, Ga.

As the commander of the organization responsible for the operation of the U.S. portion of the Army's network, the LandWarNet, Patterson will lead efforts to defend and unify the networks encompassing nearly 700,000 computer users.

In the 9th SC(A), Patterson is credited with creating and standing up the Operations Oversight Board, giving the Army Chief Information Office/G-6 a mechanism that would allow personnel to synchronize technical and tactical information technology requirements, ensuring the success of network communications in the field, Lawrence said.

Patterson was also indispensable in providing the actions needed to realize the chief of staff of the Army's vision of the Army global network, enabling 9th Signal Command units worldwide with knowledge that ensured combat units had the network communications needed to achieve success on the battlefield.

"In his time here at 9th Signal Command, General Patterson was an essential component to the success of this command, a brilliant leader who not only provided a wealth of technical expertise but also a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done," Lawrence said. "Warren, the skill in which you are able to navigate the bureaucratic maze and your talent for honing in on key facts made you my indispensable ally in the realization of GNEC."

Lawrence and Patterson have shared experiences during their service in numerous locations throughout the globe, and have worked with each other several times. Besides their roles in their time here, they also were neighbors and shared some things they had rather not.

"Once, when it was discovered that I had bats living in my garage, measures were taken and the bats were evicted, only to promptly take up residence in General Patterson's garage afterwards," Lawrence recalled.

"Warren immediately called in animal control to get the bats out of his garage, and they were once again successful in evicting them. Of course, the bats went house-hunting again and found their next home - you guessed it - back in my garage."

During Patterson's address during his ceremony, he thanked several people for their mentorship and for the unwavering support of his wife, Jule.

"To Jule, my wife of 27 years ... you have seen me at my worst and at my best, and you chuckled in disbelief when I would arrive home in the evenings or after a long (temporary duty) and announce, 'The general is in the house,'" Patterson said. "Your patience, your balance, your encouragement, and both your's and Ronnie's love and support have sustained me.

"Thank you for 27 wonderful years in a profession I love nearly as much as you."

The ceremony was also a time to welcome the newest member of the team, Col. Frederick Henry, who will step in as the deputy commander for operations. Henry's previous assignment was with the Department of the Army Inspector General, where he served as the chief of the Information Assurance Division.

"As I take on the mantle of deputy commander for operations for the 9th Signal Command, I am quite aware of the challenges that lie ahead and the responsibilities that will fall on my shoulders," Henry said. "But however heavy the load I carry, I know that my rucksack is lighter due to the efforts of those who came before me."