The 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team got a new commander Friday morning during a change of command on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
Col. Scott Jackson took command of the Spartan Brigade from Col. Douglas Cardinale, who recently returned from Afghanistan where he led the brigade through a nine-month combat tour.
Reviewing officer, Brig. Gen. John Hort, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear, passed along regards from Maj. Gen. Robert and Connie Abrams, who were unable to attend. A Friday news release from the Department of Defense announced that Abrams has been nominated for promotion to lieutenant general and for assignment as senior military assistant to the secretary of defense in Washington, D.C.
Hort told guests, including Brig. Gen. Christopher Hughes, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-maneuver and Mayor Mary Warnell of Pembroke, the Army has 45 brigade combat team commanders.
“When I look out across this field of soldiers, I see strength,” Hort said. “I see security for our nation. Let there be no doubt that the Army lives and dies by our BCTs, so the Army only picks the very best to lead a BCT.”
He said Cardinale began his command of the Spartans in 2012, leading a live-fire exercise for a visiting Chinese delegation. He then led his brigade to Afghanistan, where elements were spread over the country, supporting the Army’s exit strategy.
In his remarks Cardinale quoted Greek historian Plutarch: “The Spartans do not ask how many the enemies are but where they are.
“Today, I’m saddened that I’m no longer in command of this magnificent formation of warriors...(But) a soldier goes where he’s told to go and fights who he’s told to fight... I’m grateful most of all to God, who has made it all possible and watched over us.”
He thanked a long list of those who supported his command, especially his wife, Karen. He said only with her by his side could he go on “soldiering.”
During the official change of command, Cardinale accepted his unit’s colors from 2nd ABCT Com. Sgt. Maj. Jefferson Moser then passed the colors to Hort, signifying he was giving up command. Hort passed the colors to Jackson, signifying he accepted command.
“We’re named and honored by the name of the finest heavy infantry (force) the ancient world ever saw,” Jackson said, referring to the 300 Spartans who withstood an overwhelming force of Persians at Thermopylae long enough for other Greek forces to unite and defeat the invading Persians at Salamis and Plataea. “We will uphold that reputation.”
The brigade’s unit commanders led a pass and review that brought each unit by a reviewing stands where the commanders and their families watched the soldiers passing with “eyes right” and officers rendering a salute.
Units of the brigade include the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment; 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment; 2-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion; and 26 Brigade Support Battalion.
Jackson said his role is to lead the Spartan Brigade to its eventual deactivation in 2017. He said his infantry battalion will transfer to 3rd ID’s 1st ABCT; its armor battalion will transfer to the 3rd ID’s 3rd ABCT at Fort Benning; and its field artillery battalion will be divided between those two BCTs.