FORT HOOD — Col. William E. McRae admitted to being slightly jealous of his successor, who now has “the best job anyone could have.”
McRae, who is leaving his post as commander of the 41st Field Artillery Brigade to become the liaison officer for the U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C., handed over the reins to Col. Patrick L. Gaydon in a ceremony Thursday at Cooper Field.
McRae said there was a bit of melancholy associated with leaving behind the soldiers he had commanded, but he took comfort in knowing that the colors go on.
“This community lives up to its reputation of being like no other post,” McRae said. “If I ever have an opportunity to make a point about how a community and a post should work together, Fort Hood would be the model.”
Since McRae assumed command in fall 2011, the “Rail Gunner” Brigade has facilitated partner training and developed enduring relationships with the armed forces of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Oman and Qatar, said Col. Viet Luong, deputy commander of maneuver for the 1st Cavalry Division.
“We are properly saying goodbye to a commander whose stellar leadership and guiding hand played a major role in this brigade’s success,” Luong said. “Patrick Gaydon takes command at a strategic time, and we are extremely fortunate to have an officer with his experience and reputation.”
Gaydon came to Fort Hood from Fort Bliss, where he served as chief of fires for the 1st Armored Division. He assumes command of a brigade that is in the process of transforming into a division artillery unit.
“I want to continue the tradition of excellence,” Gaydon said. “I’ve got a pretty good organization. I can’t ask for anything more.”
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