By Sgt. Liane Hatch
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Nearly two years after assuming command of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Cincu, Romania during a brigade rotation in Europe, Col. Michael J. Simmering relinquished command of the brigade to Col. Grant S. Fawcett in a change of command ceremony at Camp Buehring, Kuwait on Saturday, June 8, 2019, as the brigade supports Operation Spartan Shield.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin J. Correll, commander of the 34th Infantry Division, which heads Operation Spartan Shield, applauded Simmering’s time in command of the 3rd ABCT in Kuwait, and welcomed Fawcett to the team, challenging him to uphold a standard of excellence.
“Under Col. Simmering, the brigade deployed forward in support of Operation Spartan Shield and has expanded its global influence and strengthened critical international partnerships,” he said.
“Mike, you’ve done an outstanding job providing leadership and direction to this formation under your tenure. I know you will continue to perform exceptionally and I wish you all the very best. And Col. Fawcett, as the new commander of the Iron Brigade, it is now your responsibility to continue this legacy and ensure that they remain ready to engage your enemies, they support our partners, and you grow the leaders of tomorrow better in your formation.”
Following Correll’s remarks, Simmering addressed the Soldiers and families of the Iron Brigade, praising their readiness and eagerness to serve under frequently changing conditions and expectations.
“If you look out front of the brigade headquarters on the other end of Camp Buehring, there’s only one brigade combat team that has their brigade patch on two separate T-walls, and it’s this brigade. And in between those two deployments, this brigade conducted the first full armored brigade combat team rotation in Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve,” he said. “This armored brigade is the most deployed, most lethal, most combat-ready formation in the Army.”
“Whether you’re a battalion commander or a private, a past or present member of the brigade, a leader or simply someone who’s waiting on their opportunity to lead, it has absolutely been the privilege of my career to be called your commander,” Simmering said. “You’re an inspiration and you’re absolutely the only thing that kept me going, that kept the passion and the love that I have for the army alive.”
Simmering ended his thoughts by welcoming Fawcett and sharing a bit of advice with the new leader and all the leaders in the 3rd ABCT.
“Leadership is a fundamental privilege,” he said. “Leading America’s sons and daughters in combat is a privilege, the highest privilege that we can bestow in our profession. If you treat every day like your job is a privilege, as opposed to some type of burden, you’re bound to have a great career. I’ll also tell you that the day you look down at your rank and say ‘Oh man, I deserve that,’ we probably don’t need you anymore.”
Finally, Fawcett, who had just arrived in Kuwait one day prior, addressed the Soldiers standing before him in Kuwait and the Soldiers and families back at Fort Carson
“Our mission is to deter aggression and reassure allies of the United States across the Middle East – I have no doubt that the Iron Brigade is the most lethal, the most highly trained, and the most ready force to accomplish this mission,” he said. "So to the Soldiers of the Iron brigade, continue mission. We’re nearing the mid-point of the deployment, your reputation is strong, your accomplishments are many. Carry on with the hard work, the discipline, and the tradition of excellence that you have had up to this point. I am humbled and honored to join the Iron Brigade and the Ivy Division."
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION