The sound of cannons firing and horses galloping could be heard across Cooper Field as the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division said farewell to its commander and welcomed two new leaders April 7.

Col. Steve Gilland, outgoing Ironhorse commander, relinquished his position to Col. John DiGiambattista.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Cornelison also joined the Ironhorse command team during the ceremony.

Gilland took command of the brigade in July 2012 and has led soldiers on several training exercises in Europe and a rotation to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.

“Col. Steve Gilland’s accomplishments in the last two years are immeasurable,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, division commander. “His focus has been on tackling every assigned mission and achieving outstanding results ... when he first took the brigade’s colors, the soldiers of Ironhorse had just returned from a deployment to Iraq and Kuwait. ... Steve and Betsy Gilland wasted no time in building a great team here at Fort Hood.”

Bills said DiGiambattista is taking command of Ironhorse at an important time. This year, the brigade will head to Europe for exercises related to the brigade’s regional alignment.

“We are fortunate to have (DiGiambattista) as he comes from the Pentagon,” Bills said. “He comes to us with a wealth of experience as an infantry officer with three deployments to Iraq ... I can’t think of a more qualified and capable officer to take command of an outstanding team as (DiGiambattista).”

The new commander had positive words for the unit as he looked out on Cooper Field.

“I know I have arrived at a great organization, and I can see it with my own eyes,” DiGiambattista said.

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