Kentucky unit welcomes new commander at site of new home

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Lt. Col. Bryan Howay receives the brigade colors from Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini during a change of command ceremony for the 75th Troop Command in Louisville, Ky., May 17, 2014. Howay took charge of the unit from Col. Mike Abell, who had led the 75th since 2012. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a sign of things to come, Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard’s 75th Troop Command gathered for a change of command ceremony May 17 at the future home of the brigade, the Butler Reserve Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lt. Col. Bryan Howay assumed command of the 75th from Col. Mike Abell on the grounds of the new location for the Kentucky Guard near Louisville’s Bowman Field.  The 75th has undergone a major realignment over the past year and now finds itself the tenant of what Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini called, “A magnificent facility, perfectly suited for the needs of the newly christened 75th Troop Command.”

Tonini also called the acquisition of the building a career-long endeavor and said the Guard will soon begin remodeling to accommodate the brigade headquarters and two battalions of the 75th.

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Col. Mike Abell speaks to Soldiers of the 75th Troop Command during a change of command ceremony in Louisville, Ky., May 17, 2014. The ceremony was the first event the Kentucky Guard held at its newest facility, the former Butler Reserve Center in Louisville. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“As we plan the future of this unit and its headquarters, we will continue to show our Guard’s interchangeability and adaptability to new missions, technologies and challenges,” he said.

Tonini praised both Abell and Howay as “models of professionalism and sterling examples of the Kentucky Guard’s ethos of ‘Unbridled Service’.”

Howay has been a member of the Kentucky Guard since 1987 and served as the 75th’s executive officer since 2012. He has led Kentucky Guardsmen in a variety of missions in support of both the commonwealth at home and the country overseas. Even with all the changes the unit has had, he said the unit will be ready for its next assignment.

“A Soldier doesn’t get to go from a private in 1987 to the level of brigade commander without the support of a lot of people along the way,” said Howay. “It’s been a long road, but now it’s just time to get ready for the next mission, whatever that may be. That is now the focus of the 75th Troop Command.”

Click here to see more photos from the ceremony.

Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, 75th’s command sergeant major has served with both the incoming and outgoing commanders and said they have always kept the Soldiers of their commands at the center of their attention.  A fact Johnson said is key to the success of any unit.

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Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson (right) presents Col. Mike Abell, outgoing commander of the 75th Troop Command with a token of appreciation from the brigade. The gift included both guidons of the 75th and the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. (U.S. Army national Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Today’s event signified that Kentucky leaders have proven that being a competent and effective leader is still at the forefront, especially with the military drawdown,” he said. “Both of these men have earned it.”

“They have proven and demonstrated the high standards they set are successful,  but it has always been in support of the command and most importantly the Soldiers and their families.”

 

 

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