By Emily Howard

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD The first female garrison commander in Fort Hoods history took command at a ceremony in front of the III Corps headquarters Thursday.

In the symbolic tradition of the Army, the colors of Fort Hoods garrison were passed from the outgoing commander, Col. William Parry, to the incoming commander, Col. Victoria Bruzese.

Bruzese said she was humbled and honored, but ready to take on the task.

I pledge all of my energies, stamina and skill ... I am committed to make Fort Hood a better place to live, work, and serve, she said.

The ceremony was not only a change of command, but a retirement ceremony for Parry, who had served 27 years in the Army, and three of those as Fort Hoods garrison commander.

The speeches made by his fellow soldiers made it clear that Parrys would be big shoes to fill.

Fort Hood has better roads, buildings, housing ... and community relations than at any time in its history, and it is because of Bill Parry, said Maj. Gen. James Simmons, commander of Fort Hood.

Fort Hoods garrison commander is responsible for providing and maintaining the installations infrastructure such as housing, the posts partnership with the surrounding communities and supporting III Corps and Fort Hoods transformation process.

Parry said the new commander had a chance to visit Fort Hood three weeks in advance of taking command, which gave her an advantage in the transition.

She will be taking over military construction projects, working on plans for a new Texas A&M stand-alone university in the area, continuing the residential community initiative and oversee other elements of the Armys transformation, he said.

Parrys advice for the incoming commander was simple.

She just needs to trust her instincts on a day-to-day basis, Parry said. Every day is different, and as long as you do whats right, youll be OK.

He also told her to hold on tight, because this will be the ride of your life.

Bruzeses military career began in 1981. She served as the garrison commander at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, prior to her move to Texas. She has also served as the secretary of the general staff for Fort Hoods 13th Corps Support Command. She holds a master of science degree in remote sensing/geographic information systems from Oregon State University and dual bachelors degrees in geology and geography from the University of South Florida.

Just before her assignment to Fort Hood, Bruzese graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was conferred a masters degree by the National Defense University in National Resource Strategy.

Parry plans to stay in the Central Texas area with his wife, Stacye, and his two children, Andrew and Emily, who both attend Texas A&M University. He says he hasnt decided whether he will stay involved with the military after his retirement.

Contact Emily Howard at

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