By Colleen Flaherty
Fort Hood Herald
It took 30 years for Maj. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn to get to the cav, after a career spent in the light infantry. But he said it was hard for him to leave the 1st Cavalry Division during a change of command ceremony Thursday on Cooper Field.
"This is a tough day for Team Allyn," said Allyn, speaking for himself, his wife, Debbie, and their two children, Danielle and Joshua, both graduates of Killeen High School.
The First Team's soldiers and traditions, including its famous horse cavalry detachment, are "truly America's finest," he added.
The ceremony's reviewing officer, III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., said Allyn and his wife, who was active in the division's family readiness structure, equally would be missed.
"We could not have asked more from either one of you," said Campbell.
Allyn, who has been pegged for a third star, leaves Fort Hood for command of the 18th Airborne Division and Fort Bragg, N.C. Before taking over at Fort Hood for now-Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger in April 2010, The major general served as deputy commander of the 18th Airborne Corps.
He will be joined in his new role by Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia Vimoto, current senior division noncommissioned officer. A change of responsibility for Vimoto is planned for July 5.
Maj. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, former head of Army Force Management, takes Allyn's place.
"I'm deeply honored and proud to serve again with this team of troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division," said Ierardi, a former commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team's 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and former division operations officer. "These soldiers did the nation's bidding in (the toughest of missions.)"
During Allyn's two years at the helm of the 1st Cavalry Division, he led its Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, four heavy brigade combat teams and air combat brigade through historic deployments to the Middle East. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams deployed in support of Operation New Dawn to assist with the draw down in Iraq, while Allyn and the division headquarters deployed to Afghanistan to lead Regional Command-East and thousands of coalition forces that make up Combined Joint Task Force-1. It was the division's first time in Afghanistan, and the 1st Air Combat Brigade soon followed for a 12-month tour.
"These were all complex deployments at crucial (points) in these nations' histories," said Campbell.
All of the First Team's troops have now returned, except for the few hundred 1st Brigade troops remaining in Kuwait, where they were rerouted following the end of Operations in Iraq. The entire brigade is expected back by July 4.
Allyn called leading the division at such a time "a privilege." But, he said, Ierardi was a "man of great intellect, vision and proven combat leadership" who was prepared to carry the division forward.
Campbell said Allyn and his "no-nonsense" approach left the division in a state of "complete readiness" for Ierardi, who was poised to "inspire and lead it to new heights."
Prior to working at force management in Washington, D.C., Ierardi served as the executive officer for the Defense Department's Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Senior Integration Group.
He also served as the chief of staff for the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Red Cloud, Korea, and as commander of the 2nd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade at Camp Casey, Korea.
Still, Allyn will be missed.
Col. Philip Battaglia, who served as the division's rear detachment commander during Allyn's deployment, said he was a strong leader who afforded his subordinate officers the space they needed to lead in their own right.
"He's an unflappable individual who was able to take any news and give out clear guidance to his subordinates and allow them to command with confidence," said the colonel.
Despite that, said Battaglia, Allyn remained modest. "For a general officer, he's very humble and unpresumptuous. He's just a regular soldier, a soldier's soldier."
Campbell agreed, saying Allyn always stressed humility, "essential for any leader."
Contact Colleen Flaherty at email@example.com or (254) 501-7559.