Mountain Warriors bid farewell to commander, welcome new one

ACH

Story by Maj. Jeff Cole, photos by Spc. Blevins/ HHC 1/149th Infantry

Lt. Col. Bryan Howay, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry incoming commander receives the colors from Col. Scott Campbell, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade commander, during a change of command ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., May 23.

FORT KNOX, Ky. (May 28, 2010)–The 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry “Mountain Warriors” said goodbye to their commander and welcomed a new one during a change of command ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., May 23.

Lt. Col. Mike Abell, outgoing commander, passed the colors to the incoming commander Lt. Col. Bryan Howay, while being reviewed by the commander of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Col. Scott Campbell.  Also in attendance were Brig. Gen. Mike Richie, Deputy Adjutant General, Army; Col. Phil Miller, Chief of Staff for the Kentucky Army National Guard; Col. (retired) Melvin Shelley, former commander of the 149th Armor Brigade, Command Sgt. Major David Munden, Senior Enlisted Advisor; Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, Command Sergeant Major of the 149th MEB; and other Soldiers of the 1-149th IN and numerous family and friends. 

The ceremony was conducted following a weekend of marksmanship and squad maneuver training, both essential competencies of an infantry battalion.

The Mountain Warriors were extremely productive during Abell’s tenure.  The battalion had recently returned from a deployment to Iraq and was in the early stages of transformation when Abell took command.  The battalion has since transitioned from mechanized to light infantry and stood up a new Forward Support Company.  During 2009, the Mountain Warriors successfully conducted Operation Northwind, a training exercise with the Japanese Army, in Sapporo, Japan and company and battalion-level collective training during annual training at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Penn.  The Mountain Warriors also served as the National Guard Reaction Force and responded to the Winter Storm of 2009 under Abell’s command. 

Col. Scott Campbell, Lt. Col. Mike Abell and Command Sgt. Maj. Gordon Hinkle hold the unit's guide on given to the outgoing commander after a change of command ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., May 23.

Howay is a former infantry company commander and operations officer who assumed command of the Mountain Warriors at a critical time.  Pre-deployment training will begin this summer during the units annual training at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. 

As the state’s last combat arms maneuver unit, Howay will ensure that the Mountain Warriors remain combat ready to deploy and support the citizens of the Commonwealth.

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