By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
Fort Hood said farewell to its garrison senior noncommissioned officer last week and welcomed a familiar face to III Corps headquarters.
Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt relinquished responsibility of the Fort Hood garrison to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ashford during a Dec. 15 ceremony.
Felt served as the garrison's senior noncommissioned officer from May 2008 to December 2010, following his time as the 1st Cavalry Division's interim top enlisted soldier. He was the 3rd Brigade Combat Team's senior noncommissioned officer before that, deploying with the brigade to Iraq.
Felt will go on to serve as the senior noncommissioned officer at Installation Management Command-West Region in San Antonio.
His family, including his wife, Angelyne, will remain in Central Texas.
Serving as the garrison's senior noncommissioned officer was a dream assignment, Felt said.
The area has seen a lot of changes in the last 10 years, Felt said, and he outlined those to come in the next 10. He talked about Texas A&M University-Central Texas, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood's post exchange, Hood Stadium, child development centers and the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, highlighting the changes they will see in the coming years.
Felt also talked about his ideas for the future of the Army - ideas for programs that could start at Fort Hood and change the way soldiers returning from combat adapt to life at home.
Though it's a farewell, it's not a goodbye to the Felts, Col. Mark Freitag, Fort Hood's garrison commander, said in a brief ceremony before the change or responsibility where Felt was awarded the Legion of Merit. The Felt family always has a warm, welcome place in the garrison, he added.
Freitag took command in July, and said last week he was comfortable in the saddle, but welcomed Ashford, saying he still needed somebody to steady his voice.
Ashford last served as the 89th Military Police Brigade's senior noncommissioned officer, handing responsibility of the brigade over to Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Ladd on Dec. 10.
Ladd previously served as the 720th Military Police Battalion's top enlisted soldier.
A relief in place/transfer of authority often sets the tone and tempo for the future, Ashford said last week. The credibility of a unit or individual is often based on initial observances, and he said Felt set him up for success.
Ashford thanked the soldiers of the 89th Military Police Brigade on Dec. 10. He said he always maintained that he worked for them.
Ashford, who has served 26 years in the Army, couldn't help but pass on some noncommissioned officer wisdom before saying farewell to his military policemen and women. He talked about the lost art of garrison leadership that has "plagued us as of late." He encouraged leaders - both noncommissioned officers and officers - to understand the Army's definition of leadership because it would be the "crux of you being successful."
He also told them to have training at the ready and inject their soldiers with as much knowledge as they could.
It's been an exceptional tour, Ashford said of his time with the military police brigade.