4-17th Inf. Regt. welcomes new commander
Staff Sgt. Joseph Wilbanks,
1st BCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
The 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment “Buffaloes,” of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, bade farewell to their outgoing commander and welcomed the new leader during a change of command ceremony Friday on Ready First Field at East Fort Bliss.
The ceremony, a military tradition for departing and arriving commanders, was held under the gray skies of a rare rainy Fort Bliss day.
The Buffaloes have changed considerably since Lt. Col. Maximo A. Moore III, outgoing battalion commander, took the helm in October 2011.
“Our mission was to transform less than 20 Soldiers, at that time, into a combat-capable, deployment-ready rifle battalion of over 750 Soldiers,” said Moore. “To do that in less than a year, we had to simultaneously receive, train and lead an organization that had no equipment and not one single established [standard operating procedure] since 1993. … The analogy of building a plane while in flight came to mind.”
But Moore was up to the task and the battalion is now recognized as one of the premier units in the “Ready First” Brigade.
“The strength of our leaders has turned ambitious vision into reality,” said Moore. “Premier leaders, premier Soldiers, prepared to serve and succeed in any challenge.”
This well-organized and premier unit is what the incoming commander, Lt. Col. James A. Van Atta, took charge of and will lead through the upcoming deployment.
“Buffaloes, continue to push yourselves as you have with Lieutenant Colonel Moore,” said Van Atta. “I will steal and modify one of his phrases – ‘nothing you control should keep you from doing PT or training your unit for combat every day.’”
As for Moore, while leaving the battalion may be difficult, he can take some consolation in his next duty assignment location in Monterey, Calif.
“I mean really, who honestly would want to go to a place that bills itself as a ‘waterfront community on the central coast of California with a temperate climate year-round?’” Moore said facetiously.
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