FORT BENNING, Ga. - Colonel Johnnie L. Johnson Jr. took command of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Col. Pete Jones in a change of command ceremony at the National Infantry Museum's parade field, Jan. 13.

Colonel Johnson assumes command of one of the most deployed units in the Army.

"I am proud and honored to join this team of distinguished professionals who embody the highest standards of service to our nation," said Col. Johnson.

Colonel Johnson is no stranger to Fort Benning. Since June 2010 he has served as chief, Commanders Initiatives Group at the Maneuver Center of Excellence's Headquarters.

"Today, I am personally excited to return to the Marne Division for a third command tour," said Col. Johnson.

Colonel Jones will be taking on a new position at the Pentagon.

Over the last year, he led the "Sledgehammer" Brigade on its fourth tour in support of Iraqi Freedom.

In his speech, he addressed his Soldiers for the final time.

"It has been the highlight of my career to have had the privilege to have served with you, he said. It is with all sincerity that I say to you now, 'Thank you.' Thank you for your professionalism, for your steadfastness, and for your loyalty. I am proud to have served as 'Hammer 6.'"

During the ceremony, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo praised Jones for his leadership and the accomplishments of his brigade during his time in command.

"He (Johnson) is a seasoned commander that is perfectly suited for the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team," said Maj. Gen. Cucolo. The Johnson family are the right people, for the right unit, at the right time, he said.

Colonel Johnson's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with Silver and Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Good Conduct Medal with Second Award.