402nd FA farewells commander, replacement hails from 32nd AAMDC
Sgt. Marcie C. Wright,
402nd FA Bde. Public Affairs:
The 402nd Field Artillery Brigade fell under new leadership at a change of command ceremony on Noel Field July 24.
Under the eyes of brigade Soldiers and honored guests, Col. Kirk H. Nilsson relinquished command of the troops to Col. Carolyn S. Birchfield, shortly after her return from a tour in Southwest Asia.
Maj. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins, commander of First Army Division West, which the 402nd belongs to, presided over the traditional military ceremony.
Under the leadership of Nilsson, the brigade has become known for a “reputation as world-class trainers, proficient in their warfighting skills and knowledgeable of the operational environment,” said Wiggins.
In the past two years, the “Rough Rider” Brigade trained more than 640 units before forward movements to Southwest Asia and Guatanamo Bay. One primary example of efforts not going unnoticed lies with the 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard. After testing the units with nearly 250 training scenarios, the 36th Inf. Div. went on to earn accolades in country during their deployment, where they were one of three divisions to oversee operations there.
During Nilsson’s command, the brigade headquarters battery also earned awards and recognition for volunteerism for participating in the Partners in Education program within the Socorro Independent School District. Nilsson was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife Sue and daughter Jacqueline.
In remarks, Nilsson thanked his wingmen – Col. Eric Schacht, commander of 5th Armored Brigade, and Col. Eric Judkins, commander of Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment.
“The mission is extensive, complex, challenging and requires full interdependence of all of our organizations for success,” said Nilsson. “You have made the long days and incredibly fast weeks and months not only tolerable, but enjoyable.”
He also thanks his staff and noncommissioned officers for working hard to support the mission and allowing him to grow as a professional and a person. He called them an “enduring part” of his life. He said the Soldiers in formation before him represented the very best of the Army and a magnificent training team.
Nilsson looks forward to Casteneau, Belgium, where he will serve as the chief of staff for the NATO Special Operations Command.
Birchfield is no stranger to Fort Bliss. The former deputy area air defense commander for the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command led the unit through operations at Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar.
Now returning to Fort Bliss, she said she looks forward to her new command assignment of Rough Rider Soldiers.
Short URL: http://fbmonitor.com/?p=14521