JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Friends, families and Soldiers were in attendance as the 555th Engineer Brigade changed hands from one command team to another, during a change of command ceremony at Watkins Field, Nov. 10.
During the ceremony, Col. Michael Brobeck, 555th Eng. Bde commander, ceremoniously passed the unit colors to incoming commander, Col. Nicholas Katers, to signify the change of command.
For Brobeck, leaving the brigade reminded him of what made his time in command special.
"Without a doubt, the Soldiers are who make this brigade work every day." said Brobeck. "Whether they are mechanics or finance clerks it doesn't matter, the job they have carries the load of this nation every day. That is what I'm going to miss, their dedication and constant drive."
The reviewing officer for the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles, I Corps deputy commander, touched on all the successes that the brigade had during Col. Brobeck's tenure, but there was one accomplishment that Brobeck felt was the most important.
"A personal accomplishment that was so important was when we dedicated the memorial to all the fallen Soldiers of the brigade who have given their lives during the course of the Global War on Terrorism," said Brobeck. "That was the most significant day of my command. We had the opportunity to honor them and the forty Family members who attended."
For the new commander, the opportunity to take over such a successful brigade leaves him with high expectations and thoughts on how he will lead.
"My expectations are that this brigade will continue to do the fantastic job that they have done for the last couple of years for Col. Brobeck and Command Sgt. Maj. Leichenauer. I am excited to be part of this team and I am very humbled by the privilege to do this," said Katers. "I definitely like to get out there with the Soldiers. I love to be in the motor pool, to be out in the field with them and to keep my boots muddy."
In addition to the commanders changing, the command sergeants major also changed hands, as Command Sgt. Maj. Elmo Leichenauer, 555th Eng. Bde. Command sergeant major, passed responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Bryan.
As the senior enlisted person in the brigade, Leichenauer had some advice for the noncommissioned officers and Soldiers he would be leaving.
" Stay out of each other's business and allow the junior noncommissioned officers from each level down to do their part and allow them to lead. We have to allow Soldiers to make mistakes and let our young NCO's learn and grow. They have to have the ability to overcome them and grow, that will make them a better leader," said Leichenauer. "Be proud that you get to serve and be passionate to serve. It has been great. This is the best brigade in the United States Army. It's been a privilege to be part of this organization and to have the opportunity to fulfill the position as the brigade sergeant major."
For his commanders, Col. Katers had one very important topic for them to remember as he takes control.
"We have this awesome responsibility to take care of Soldiers and we have to pay attention to them coming back from war with those invisible wounds and make sure we carry on with the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness so we don't lose Soldiers who have successfully returned from the battle field," said Katers.