Garrison units for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield got new leaders Friday during change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies on Cottrell Field.
Davis D. Tindoll, Jr., director of the Atlantic Region Installation Management Command, led the simultaneous ceremonies in which Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin handed off responsibility of garrison command sergeant major to Command Sgt. Maj. Louis C. Felicioni, and Col. Kevin Milton handed off command to Col. Kevin. F. Gregory.
The ceremony began when Ervin led a color guard forward to meet Gregory, Tindoll and Milton. Ervin presented the garrison colors to Milton then left the formation the meet Felicioni.
After receiving a saber that symbolized his role as senior enlisted advisor to the garrison commander, Ervin presented it to Felicioni, first drawing the sword partly out of its scabbard. Upon receiving the saber, Felicioni snapped the sword back in its scabbard to show he accepted the responsibility.
Felicioni returned to the formation and took his position facing Tindoll. Milton then handed the garrison colors to Tindoll. He passed the colors to Gregory, who then passed them to Felicioni, the new custodian of the unit’s colors.
“This humidity is hot. I must be back in Georgia,” Tindoll joked, noting he had just gotten back from Puerto Rico. “It’s good to be back… You know, the Army doesn’t train its officers to become garrison commanders… I want to say Col. Milton and Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin have been an outstanding garrison command team. They’ve managed the best possible quality of life programs in the entire Army.”
Tindoll said Milton recognized the coming cuts in military budgets and directed his team to find ways to save tens of millions of dollars. He called Ervin a fierce defender of soldiers, and particularly commended him for his work with Wounded Warriors.
He said Stewart-Hunter won 45 organization and individual awards during the Milton-Ervin command team’s tenure. The awards included the Army Community of Excellence and U.S. Army Environmental awards. He said Stewart-Hunter was not allowed to compete in 2010 and 2011, but the installation won the award for the fifth time in 2012.
Milton said it was his sergeant major and garrison team who earned the awards.
Milton said his garrison staff always tried to help a soldier or family member who needed it. He thanked his wife, his staff and Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division and Stewart-Hunter commander for their support during the 37 months he served as garrison commander.
Prior to the ceremony, red roses were presented to Christy Milton and Kathy Ervin, as well as their daughters and granddaughters. Yellow roses were given to Gabby Gregory and her and the new commander’s daughters, Melissa, 13, and Adeline, 10.
Following the ceremony, Milton told news media there was already a system in place to manage operations at Stewart-Hunter, sustain environmental programs, logistics and especially morale, welfare and recreation programs.
“Every weekend Christy and I were out there, it never felt like work,” he said, admitting he enjoys outdoor sports anyway. “We loved watching and helping those kids catch fish.”
Milton said he felt a sense of sadness about leaving, but added that he looks forward to being reassigned back to Fort Stewart in the future.