4th MEB double taps ceremony
Story and Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Kelly S. Malone, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade changes commanders and command sergeants major at a ceremony held at Gammon Field here Wednesday morning. Officiating was 1st Infantry Division senior commander, Brig. Gen. Donald M. MacWillie, July 18.

Col. Frank Y. Rangel, Jr., outgoing commander of 4th MEB, 1st ID, is only the second commander since the brigade was activated and attached to the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood on October 2, 2008.

Rangel relinquished command of the brigade to Col. James F. Reckard III, at the change of command ceremony, and Command Sgt. Maj. William K. Allen surrendered his senior enlisted responsibility during the change of responsibility portion of the ceremony to incoming command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Federico Boyce. The event which included the 1st ID commanding general's mounted color guard and the 106th Army Band from the Arkansas National Guard.

Prior to the main ceremony, MacWillie presented the outgoing leadership team with Legions of Merit awards.

"The Legion of Merit is not given, it is earned," said MacWillie to those gathered at the small award presentation.

"I can't tell you what a strong team this is. One's going to move to Fort Hood, Texas, and the other is going to step away for the next chapter of his life. They're not the type of Soldiers that want anybody to pin medals on their chest. We had to come through here today and tell them they would stand here because it is not within their fiber."

In addition to commander and command sergeant major changes, Allen also retires today after almost three decades of service.

Following MacWillie's words, Rangel took a moment to speak to Allen as he transitions into civilian life.

"You came in here at a very hard time and you were able to elevate us beyond my wildest expectations," said Rangel, "You are that type of leader that everybody wants to be like, I want to be like you, I know you are going to leave us after 27 years and the Army takes a little dip because you are leaving."

"It's all about the Soldiers," said Allen, "there never was a time when we sat down to make decisions where it was personal or ever about Colonel Rangel. It was all about the impact our decision would have on the Soldiers."

Wrapping up the awards gathering, MacWillie added the final words about Allen's retirement.

"Twenty seven years of what you've done for us is a legacy that will last another 27 years, of what you did, the value you gave, the training you gave, we'll never forget it," said MacWillie.

The band sounded as the narrator calls all in attendance to prepare for the ceremony to begin.

As the narrator stated, the ceremony is steeped in tradition.

1st Lt. Robin James, sounded the Adjutant's Call commencing the procession of events including the arrival of the official party, a jeep ride around the brigade formation to inspect the troops and finally, the passing of the colors.

Passing of the unit colors from the current commander to the senior commander symbolizes the last act as commander for that unit. The senior commander then passes the colors to the new unit commander, who lastly passes the colors to the command sergeant major. The senior commander in today's ceremony it is Brig. Gen. Donald M. MacWillie.

At the conclusion of the military demonstration there was an 11 cannon salute.

Once the band quieted and the colors had been passed, MacWillie read a note from 1st ID commanding general, Maj. Gen. William C. Mayville, Jr., and division command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser, Jr., who are currently deployed to Afghanistan.

Thank you Col. Rangel and his wife, Robin, and Command Sgt. Maj. William K. Allen and his wife, Samantha, for their selfless commitment to the Soldiers and their families in the Dauntless brigade, said MacWillie.

MacWillie went on to congratulate the incoming leadership team.

"Jay and command sergeant major (Boyce), your challenge before you today is to build on the Dauntless legacy set before you. Continue the tradition of excellent and take this brigade to a higher level," said MacWillie.

All four of the outgoing and incoming leadership team members had the opportunity to address the senior leadership and all guests present for the ceremony.

Allen directed his address to the Soldiers of the 4th MEB.

"I hope that I served you well. It has definitely been an honor for me to serve as your command sergeant major," said Allen, "Command Sgt. Maj. Boyce, you are taking over a great brigade. I know that you will serve them well and that they won't miss a beat."

Boyce spent his time at the lectern also addressing the Soldiers.

"I stand ready to serve, day in and day out, to engage and continue the legacy that command sergeant major Allen and Col Rangel have started," said Boyce, "there will be no mission too great to undertake as we move on to do great things . . . I look forward to answering the nation's call to defend our freedom whether at home or abroad. Dauntless 7 signed in."

The outgoing and incoming commanders spoke next, respectively.

"I have nothing but gratitude for our great leaders," said Rangel of MacWillie.

In his closing, Rangel directed his attention to his wife of 28 years, Robin. His final words before signing off the net included her.

"We are blessed to have had this time with the Fighters, Wolverines, Phoenix, and Endeavor . . . you have gone in harm's way to make the nation safer . . . you are the ones who have endured the separations, the cold and the hot weather, and the pain and sorrow of tragic loss . . . you will always have a special place in our hearts," said Rangel.

To conclude the words of the day, 4th MEB commander, Reckard, finalized the ceremony.

"It's a great honor to stand before you today as the commander of a fighting unit as great as this one," said Reckard.

To the outgoing command team, Reckard expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead.

"You have brilliantly led this organization and we are eager to build upon your legacy and make the 4th MEB an enduring unit marked by excellence," said Reckard.

"Most importantly to the Soldiers of the 4th MEB, I look forward to serving with you," said Reckard, "to build a foundation of discipline, to provide opportunities for training, readiness, leader development and family resiliency."

Reckard concluded his speech with words that surely resonate with the Army values.

"Together we will be a winning team, capable of success in any endeavor," said Reckard.

The culminating event of the morning was to see the commanding general's mounted color guard perform their charge. Guns shooting and horses racing sealed the day's change.