By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
In lieu of a typical farewell speech, Col. Tobin Green deferred his time at the podium Friday morning to a friend who parted with the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team in Iraq before he was ready.
Lt. Col. Tim Karcher, former commander of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, spoke instead during Green's change of command ceremony at Cooper Field, during which he relinquished the brigade to Col. Scott Efflandt.
Karcher led the battalion when it deployed to Iraq in early 2009. His vehicle was struck by roadside bomb containing explosively-formed projectiles on June 29. He lost his legs in the attack and battled for his life in Army hospitals between Iraq and the United States.
Wheelchair-bound since he began what Green called a "inspirational road to recovery," Karcher walked to the podium Friday.
The brigade was unbeatable from the beginning because of teamwork, Karcher said. It was never about one person, but about a team. That attitude continued even after he was injured and evacuated, and Karcher said a sense of teamwork extended to Iraq and home.
No one unit sought glory for itself, he went on to say, but sought the greater good for the whole team and for the Iraqi people. Every unit shared in the successes as a whole.
While the brigade and battalion commanders changed Friday, Karcher said the formation remained largely the same because the people who turns visions into reality - the soldiers - were still there. The strength of the brigade rested on its superb noncommissioned officers, he said, because without their hard work, success would not have been possible.
The soldiers and their families faced every mission - at home and in Iraq - and did so to the highest standard, Karcher said.
"The soldier you see before you made a difference in Baghdad," he said, adding that they gave the Iraqi people a chance.
Efflandt said after the ceremony that it was an incredibly humbling honor to take command of the 1st Brigade because of its legacy and the caliber of people with whom he will work. Taking command also comes with an immense burden of responsibility, he added.
Because of his experience with the division - he served executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Brigade combat Team operations officer, executive officer and deputy brigade commander; and commander of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment - Efflandt said it was like coming home.
He is married to the former Ann Marie Pycz.
All battalions in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, except for the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, also got new commanders Friday.
Command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment transferred from Lt. Col. Charles Costanza to Lt. Col. Dolf Southerland.
Command of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment transferred from Lt. Col. Mark Solomons to Lt. Col. Robert Rodriguez.
Command of the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment transferred from Lt. Col. Eric Schwegler to Lt. Col. Miles Brown.
Command of the 115th Brigade Support Battalion transferred from Lt. Col. Gregory Holmes to Lt. Col. Jason Carrico.
Command of the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion transferred from Col. Maria Zumwalt to Lt. Col. Stephen Dawson.