Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, gathered at Club Stewart on Fort Stewart, Georgia, June 9 for a change of command ceremony to bid farewell to Col. Steve Erickson and welcome the incoming brigade commander Col. David Key to the unit.
After commanding for two years Col. Steve Erickson passed the mantle of leadership that symbolizes pride, tradition and history for the “Providers” of the 3rd DSB to Col. David Key during the ceremony.
“Change of command ceremonies are a true honored tradition that is bittersweet,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division.
“While it is a happy occasion to welcome new leaders and their families it gives us pause to honor the accomplishments of the leaders and families who are moving on to the next chapter in their lives and continue this great Army journey.”
Erickson spoke to the Providers using an analogy to describe the highlights during his tenure.
“Anyone who has gone to a Broadway play knows that the most important member of any cast is the crew,” said Erickson. “It is the team that opens and closes the curtains to the stage and the team behind the scenes that allows the spotlight to shine on the star of the show. Thank you Providers for improving the quality of life and setting the conditions for training our Soldiers.”
Erickson felt confident to pass the leadership to his friend and North Georgia College (University of North Georgia) alumni.
“Colonel Key is no stranger,” said Erickson. “We were friends even before the Army. I am convinced that you and your team are the right leadership, at the right time, with the right command of philosophy to lead this Brigade to the next chapter of the Marne Division.”
Key agreed with Erickson that coming to the 3rd ID was treading on familiar territory.
“This is like a giant homecoming,” said Key. “The Erickson’s are here… we feel back at home. Serving the 3rd Infantry Division twice earlier in our career and returning to the unit that we love is more than an honor. It was our first choice for brigade command and there is no other place we would rather be.”
Following the ceremony, the unit cased its colors to officially mark the brigade’s upcoming deployment to the Middle East in the support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Spartan Shield). This will mark the brigade’s seventh deployment since 2002.
Key, who served the 3rd ID during Operation Iraqi Freedom and OIF VII, looks forward to continuing his service with 3rd ID and building a strong team during their deployment.
“We look forward to continuing to build a cohesive team that is highly trained, disciplined and fit and ready to fight and win for the division,” said Key.