Brig. Gen. Michael Bills said he was both humbled and honored to take command of the 1st Cavalry Division.
“Command at any level is not only a critical responsibility but a sacred privilege,” he said during a command-change ceremony last week on Cooper Field. “Being honored with command of the United States Army’s most storied unit, the 1st Cavalry Division, is a duty I accept with the utmost devotion and dedication.”
Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi relinquished command after 20 months of leading the more than 22,000 soldiers in the division.
During that time the division’s oversight expanded to include 3rd Cavalry Regiment — a unit Bills once commanded.
Bills most recently served as the acting senior commander of 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colo.
He also moved from Fort Carson to Fort Hood in 2006 as the commander to bring the Brave Rifles from Colorado to Texas, and then on a deployment to Iraq.
This summer, Bills will lead the division’s headquarters on a deployment to Afghanistan, while preparing 3rd Cav to deploy there as well. Aside from Afghanistan, the division currently has soldiers deployed in Kuwait, Egypt and Korea.
“I’ll make sure (soldiers) are trained and ready to defend themselves, and to help Afghan soldiers in their train up as they move forward at the same time as we start to draw down in Afghanistan and making sure we do that correctly,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, oversaw the ceremony and said he has complete confidence in Bills to carry on the 1st Cavalry Division’s “traditions of excellence.”
“He’s a proven combat leader and he’s the leader that the First Team needs as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan this summer,” he said.
Bills was quick to credit the hard work of Ierardi for the current level of readiness.
“Gen. Ierardi, thank you for handing over such an outstanding formation of Americans. I have watched from afar as you’ve led this division through a myriad of challenges and tasks adding to the sterling reputation of America’s First Team with your tremendous leadership,” he said. “I am humbled at how accomplished this unit is, and (my wife) Megan and I cannot thank you and Angela enough for all you’ve done to take care of soldiers and families in your time in command.”
Ierardi will head over to III Corps to serve as Milley’s deputy commander until the Army announces his next assignment.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.