FORT HOOD — Col. Mark Simerly said his heart was filled with pride and humility as he stood before the soldiers of the 4th Sustainment “Wrangler” Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, one final time as their commander.

“I’ve been proud and humbled to lead the families and soldiers of the 4th Sustainment Brigade — the Army’s biggest and best sustainment brigade — and I’ve never been granted a greater privilege than to lead these great American soldiers,” Simerly said during his remarks at the command-change ceremony held Thursday morning at Sadowski Field. “Among the hardest working soldiers in the Army, the Wranglers do the heavy lifting for Fort Hood tirelessly day in and day out to sustain readiness on the installation.”

During the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Jessie C. Bates Jr., relinquished responsibility as the brigade commander’s senior enlisted adviser to Command Sgt. Maj. Alton Haney.

Simerly served as “Wrangler 6” for 18 months. Under his command he trained and deployed battalion headquarters, companies and platoons for missions across the globe. Nearly 350 soldiers are currently deployed.

Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters, commander of the 13th, said Simerly molded the brigade into a “flexible, agile, go-to organization for support.”

“It wasn’t always easy and there were tough times,” he said. “The good leader you are, you were there during the tough times and you never quit.”

While he’s leaving the brigade, Simerly and his family will remain part of the Central Texas community. He will move to III Corps and join the headquarters’ logistics team in Afghanistan next month.

Accepting command of the Wrangler Brigade was Col. Timothy Luedecking, who is also no stranger to Fort Hood. He served as the commander of 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s Support Squadron during its most recent deployment to Iraq from summer 2010 to 2011. He then studied as an Army fellow at Texas A&M University.

“I can’t begin to tell you how excited and humbled Command Sgt. Maj. Haney and I are to take command,” Luedecking said. “We expect each of you to uphold the highest standards in discipline in everything you do and uphold our motto, ‘Just get it done, the Wrangler way.’”

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

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.

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