Fort Hood, TX –
For the past 18-years thousands upon thousands of Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers have walked across the grounds here on their way to being mobilized to nearly every imaginable place on earth, conducting countless missions across the globe and then returning here to complete the demobilization process on their way back to their families and their homes.
On January 29, responsibility for that monumental mission officially changed hands here during a transfer of authority ceremony on the parade field of the III Corps headquarters.
During the ceremony, command and authority of the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade was transferred from the 211th Regional Support Group to the 209th Regional Support Group.
The reviewing officer for the special event was Maj. Gen. Gerald Strickland, deputy commanding general, III Corps and Fort Hood. “A year ago, Col. (David) Dean, Sgt. Maj. (Thomas) Brashears and their team thought they were coming here for 12-months of challenging but predictable duties at Fort Hood,” he said. “Little did they know that COVID 19 was coming up at them like a freight train at speed, and the need to get Soldiers mobilized for operations would not go away, but it would become a lot more complicated.”
Strickland also spoke about how the 211th RSG overcame the new challenges brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic and touted their accomplishments. “The 211th Regional Support Group proved they were up to the task,” he said. “It is a testament to their monumental efforts that we did not skip a beat. Over the course of the past year, they successfully mobilized or demobilized over 26,000 Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from over 750 units, and most impressively they had to adapt and overcome numerous challenges along the way. It has been a herculean effort by the whole team under the expert leadership of Col. Dean and Sgt. Maj. Brashears.”
Strickland concluded his remarks with his expectations for the incoming brigade. “I know we will see the same commitment to excellence from the new team,” he said. “The challenges remain, they have not gone away. COVID is still with us, and there is a huge number of Soldiers who need to be mobilized and demobilized for ongoing operations every day. Your efforts make those operations possible. I thank you in advance for what you are about to do, good luck.”
The next speaker was COL. David L. Dean, commander, 211th RSG, and outgoing commander of the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade. “I would like to leave you with some final thoughts from Hank Aaron, who recently passed away,” he said. “‘In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.’ We at the 211th RSG certainly seized the moment and took our best swings, and I personally think we hit 756 homeruns.”
The last person to speak at the event was, Col. Marc Statham, commander, 209th Regional Support Group and the incoming commander of the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade. “On behalf of the 209th Regional Support Group, I would like to thank everyone involved in the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade enterprise for the opportunity for our organization to take on this critical mission to meet the diverse requirements tasked from our Nation’s leaders,” he said. “I also want to thank the 211th team for the warm welcome and assistance they have provided to bring our team onboard for this mission. We hold their incredible accomplishments in the highest regard, and we look forward to the task of maintaining the very high standard that they have set.”
Statham also spoke about the importance of the mission and what it means for his unit. “This is an extremely critical mission, and an opportunity for us to grow as we delve into the mobilization enterprise that goes on here at Fort Hood,” he said. “It is a very big task, and I know for myself there is a big learning curve, but the 211th has done a great job in getting us up to speed. We will certainly continue to learn as we go along, but I think this is an excellent opportunity to show what the 76th Operational Response Command and the 209th are capable of for the Army Reserve. We are ready to go.”