By Staff Sgt. Ricardo BranchSeptember 9, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers, Family members and friends of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, "Warriors," 25th Infantry Division gathered on Weyand Field to welcome Colonel Christopher S. Vanek as the new commander for the Warrior Brigade in a change of command ceremony, Sept. 9 here.
"When you consider what's appropriate for this event, two words come to mind -- humbled and honored," Vanek said. "Standing before you, charged with the responsibility of leading our nation's finest citizen Soldiers, I am incredibly humbled."
Vanek took command from outgoing commander, Col. Malcolm B. Frost, who served as the brigade commander from July 2009 to September 2011, where he helped prepare and lead the brigade through its' recent deployment in Iraq.
"Chris and Kim Vanek, you are the right team for this Stryker BCT," Frost said. "I depart from the field today fully confident that the Warriors have the right leader in charge. You will take them to the next level. Good luck my friend and don't hesitate to let me know if you need anything."
United States Army Pacific Commander, Lieutenant General Francis J. Wiercinski, reviewing officer for the ceremony praised both commanders for their tireless efforts to ensure Soldiers are always trained to remain combat ready.
"Colonel Frost was an exceptional commander for this brigade," Wiercinski said. "Colonel Frost had a saying to anyone joining the brigade, which I'd like to share with you now, 'At the end of your life you only have your Family and your sense of accomplishment -- take care of the first one every day.' That type of leader is what our Army needs today."
Wiercinski went on to talk about Vanek joining the Warrior Brigade.
"Vanek comes to the unit with over 60-months downrange in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he's combat tested and the right man for this job," he said.
Vanek, who is no stranger to Schofield Barracks, served as a platoon leader and company executive officer in the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, "Golden Dragons," before moving on to follow up assignments with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska, the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., before return to the 75th Ranger Regiment as the Regimental Deputy Commander.
Vanek is proud to return to the Warrior Brigade Family and looks forward to leading the Soldiers through the reset of its last deployment and train the Soldiers to carry on in their war-fighting mission.
"The second brigade has an incredible legacy that I experienced when I was here as a second lieutenant," Vanek said. "It's absolutely humbling to come back here as a brigade commander in the very same unit that I started my career in."
When asked about his goals for the brigade, Vanek added.
"First, I want to prepare the organization for any potential contingencies. Second, is to be a great teammate and great part of the larger 25th Infantry Division organization."
After the ceremony, Vanek and his Family had leis placed around their necks in the Hawaiian custom welcoming them into the brigade.