Stewart assumes command of 149th MEB

Story by Maj. Varinka Ensminger, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

To see all photos from this event, please click HERE.

The 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) conducted a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony at Roy Kidd Stadium on Eastern Kentucky University's campus in Richmond, Ky. July 17, 2016. Col. Alexander C. Stewart accepted the colors from Col. Jerry L. Morrison and Command Sgt. Major Marshall P. Ware assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Major Jesse S. Withers. Both Col. Morrison and CSM Withers served in their positions for the last 2 and a half years. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Stephen Martin)

The 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) conducted a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony at Roy Kidd Stadium on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in Richmond, Ky. July 17, 2016. Col. Alexander Stewart accepted the colors from Col. Jerry Morrison and Command Sgt. Major Marshall Ware assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Major Jesse Withers. Both Morrison and Withers served in their positions for the last 2 and a half years. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Stephen Martin)

RICHMOND, Ky. —  Col. Jerry Morrison and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers relinquished their leadership positions during a change of command and responsibility ceremony with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) over the weekend at Roy Kidd Stadium on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in Richmond, Ky.

Both have successfully led the Kentucky National Guard’s largest brigade for the last two and a half years.

Friends, family and comrades traveled from across the state July 17, to honor the accomplishments of the brigade and its leadership, celebrating the change of responsibility and command, and welcoming in the new leadership.  Members of the 202nd Army Band provided the music for the event and the EKU Army ROTC provided the cannon salute.

Maj. Andrew Caldwell, 149th MEB  narrated the event, while battalion commanders formed the brigade.  Even with the heat, attendees and participants were pleased to witness the presentation of this time honored traditional ceremony.

“Today’s main point is that you, the Soldiers and leaders of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, have succeeded in continuing the distinguished history of the Louisville Legion that started 187 years ago.” said Morrison. “You do it professionally, with esprit de corps, and honor. Without a doubt, you can train or deploy with any unit in the United States Army. Be very proud of your accomplishments. I am honored to have been a part of this unit and served with you patriots. Thank you for your professionalism, sacrifice, and service to our nation.”

Col. Alexander C. Stewart accepts the colors from The Adjutant General of Kentucky, Brig. Gen. Stephen Hogan, during the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) change of command ceremony at Roy Kidd Stadium on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in Richmond, Ky. July 17, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Stephen Martin)

The change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another. The passing of colors, from an outgoing commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and its soldiers is never without official leadership, a continuation of trust, and also signifies an allegiance of soldiers to their unit’s commander. Col. Alexander  Stewart assumed command to continue the Legion legacy.

“I recognize command of the 149th MEB as both a privilege and a great responsibility,” said the incoming commander. “I will give my all to ensure this wonderful brigade continues to have the devoted leadership it rightly deserves.”

Stewart’s service to Kentucky started in 1985 when he first joined the Kentucky National Guard.  He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. three years later in 1988. From there, he continued assignments in the engineer branch. Prior to taking command of the brigade, he served as the Operations Officer and the Deputy Commander of the 149th MEB.

Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Ware assumed responsibility of the brigade from Withers in the traditional passing of the Non-commissioned Officer’s sword, a tradition that dates back to 1840. The NCO sword is a fully functional weapon intended for hard and dedicated use. It’s no longer part of the Army’s inventory, but continues to serve as a constant display of leadership, integrity and responsibility. The passing of the sword signifies the relinquishing of responsibility and authority from the outgoing to the incoming command sergeant major.

“It is bittersweet for me to leave my post,” said Withers. “I know Col. Stewart and Command Sgt. Maj. Ware will continue to lead the brigade towards success and challenge the leaders to train their units even harder.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Ware joined the Army in 1991, enlisting as a private in the military police. He has spent a predominant amount of his career in a variety of military police assignments and operations. His expertise will continue the success of the brigade as they are called upon mission at home and oversees.

“I am honored to be the command sergeant major and a part of the 149th MEB.  This brigade has a distinguished history in the Kentucky National Guard started over 150 years ago,” said Ware. “This brigade has a great culture, and a lot of accomplishments just within the last 30 months.  The Soldiers are exceptional and prepared to deploy for any mission.  I am proud to be in this organization.”

Stewart will be the twenty-fifth commander of the 149th MEB, following in the foot steps of several commanders who later became generals, including current Kentucky Guardsmen, Brig. Gen. Charles Jones and Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell.

The 149th MEB is made up of the following battalions: the 103rd Chemical Battalion, the 149th Brigade Support Battalion, the 198th Military Police Battalion, the 201st Engineer Battalion and the 206th Engineer Battalion. The Brigade received streamers for its service in the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Persian Gulf War, the Global War on Terrorism, and Operation New Dawn.  The Brigade has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Citation, and the Army Superior Unit Award.

The 149th MEB proudly stands ready to defend the Commonwealth of Kentucky and this great Nation today, as it has throughout its storied history with their motto “Never Defeated.”

**Additional Media Coverage:

http://www.maysville-online.com/entertainment/col-xandy-stewart-an-officer-and-a-gentleman/article_99576181-064b-520f-adb8-37168d781623.html