FORT HOOD — Bidding farewell to the troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division, Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi told them they deserve the best.
“The best training, the best care, the best equipment and the best leadership. You ... made this great unit proud every day and you always fulfilled the promise and mission of the Army,” he said.
During a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Cooper Field, Ierardi passed the colors to his successor after 20 months in command of America’s First Team.
“I am proud to have served in your ranks. As I stand here today nothing can truly convey the enormous pride I have in all of you,” Ierardi said. “Please know that wherever I serve I will carry a deep sense of responsibility to support you in any way that I can.”
Ierardi will serve as III Corps’ deputy commander until this summer when the Pentagon is expected to announce his next job in the Army.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, oversaw the command change, and described Ierardi as “a kid from Philadelphia with numerous deployments and transitions.”
During Milley’s 10-month deployment to Afghanistan with the Phantom Corps, Ierardi stood in as senior post commander.
“You’re the only commander in the history of the U.S. Army to simultaneously expand your division, command a corps, expand the corps and deploy almost all the units,” Milley said to the two-star general. “You took over five forts, four divisions and 49 brigades while I was gone. And right now Tony Ierardi managed to grab 40 percent of the United States Army. Well done, Tony, and I thank you for that.”
Taking command of the division was Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, who most recently served as the acting senior commander of 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colo.
He made that same move in 2006 as the commander to bring the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Colorado to Texas, and then on a deployment to Iraq.
This summer he will lead the division headquarters on a deployment to Afghanistan. During the next few months, he will be ensuring everyone is ready to go.
“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,” Bills said.
For more on the change of command, read next week’s Fort Hood Herald.