FORT SILL, Okla. (2 Aug. 2012) -- The 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade said farewell to outgoing commander Col. Daniel Garcia, and welcomed Col. Michael Morrissey during a change of command ceremony July 31 on Polo Field.

"For two years you have not just commanded your brigade you have inspired all who have served in this formation," said Brig. Gen. James Dickinson, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command commanding general and reviewing officer for the ceremony, referring to Garcia's leadership.

"The Soldiers of the 31st ADA Brigade want to be here at Fort Sill and at Fort Lewis serving under your leadership everyday."

Dickinson also spoke of the high level of training Col. Garcia provided to his Soldiers. Dickinson said Garcia could have easily done administrative type exercises, but chose to execute realistic deployment training to show 31st ADA is ready to rapidly deploy at any time.

"I wanted to create the type of unit that we would be proud to have our children serve in," said Garcia. "And after watching 3-2nd [ADA] perform magnificently while deployed in Bahrain and UAE, 5-5th [ADA] perform their C-RAM mission in Iraq and then reorganize four times, and then watch 4-3rd [ADA] grow from an idea and transform into a fully deployable battalion -- all that within two years and I think yes, we would all be proud to serve in this brigade," said Garcia.

Dickinson said it was Garcia who challenged his Soldiers to be the premiere air defense brigade in the Army and their success was reached not only at the unit level but also at the Soldier level with:

11 new members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club;
38 Soldiers earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency badge;
Fires Center of Excellence Soldier and NCO of the Year;
winner of the III Corps NCO and Soldier of the Year;
a clean sweep during the 32nd [AAMDC] Blackjack Warrior Week;
and most recently an NCO winning the bantamweight at the All Army Combatives Tournament at Fort Hood, Texas.

"It is no surprise that my greatest source of strength and my pride is my unit and my family," said Garcia. "I want to thank my wife who has been an amazing supporter for 24 years. And she and my two daughters are the reason why I'm so driven."

"If great attitudes are infectious we certainly have an outbreak here at Fort Sill. And the great attitude and motivation you have inspired will carry on long past the change of command ceremony today," said Dickinson. "[Morrissey] brings all the leadership skills, drive and passion necessary to lead this great formation standing before us."

Morrissey is no stranger to the 31st ADA as he commanded 5-5th ADA in Iraq and at Fort Lewis from 2008 to 2011.

Prior to commanding 5-5th, he served in numerous wartime operations and spent time in Washington, D.C., working in the Pentagon with the most senior leaders in the military.

"It is without question a humbling honor to take command of this unit. Since I am standing up here I'd like to thank those responsible because there is no way I'd be up here without their support," said Morrissey.

He went on to thank all leaders, as well as Soldiers and families who he said always accomplish the mission.

He thanked his wife, Cindy, and two sons, Tom and Matt.

"They give me purpose motivation and lots of direction."

In closing Morrissey gave his Soldiers respite from the unrelenting sun with these parting words:

"All policies remain in effect. Ready and vigilant, swift and sure, Fires Strong!"