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Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade gets new boss

July 9, 2013 Updated: July 9, 2013 at 7:55 am
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photo - Incoming Commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Colonel Gregory F. Sierra, far left, and Brigadier General Michael A. Bills,  4th Infantry Division Acting Senior Commander, salute the soldiers at the march of the 4th Infantry Division during the Change of Command, at Fort Carson, Monday, July 8, 2013. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette.
Incoming Commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Colonel Gregory F. Sierra, far left, and Brigadier General Michael A. Bills, 4th Infantry Division Acting Senior Commander, salute the soldiers at the march of the 4th Infantry Division during the Change of Command, at Fort Carson, Monday, July 8, 2013. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette. 

A new graduate of the Naval War College took command of Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade Combat Team at a Monday ceremony.

Army Col. Greg Sierra assumed command from Col. Michael Kasales, who has led the brigade for the past two years, at the 10 a.m. ceremony at the post's Founders Field.

"Excellence has been our watchword," Kasales told a crowd of hundreds of soldiers, family members and community leaders.

During the ceremony, Kasales encouraged Sierra to "train hard and take care of the brigade."

In return, the brigade's soldiers and family members "will surely impress you," he said.

Sierra said that the brigade's troops looked "impressive" in formation.

"All policies and procedures will remain in effect," he said.

The Army announced last month that the 3,800-soldier brigade will be disbanded by 2017 as the Pentagon works to cut its rolls by 80,000 soldiers in a cost-saving move. A timeline for dismantling the brigade has not been announced.

In the past decade, soldiers from the brigade have served multiple tours in Iraq and have worked to train Afghan troops.

During his time as commander, Kasales and leaders at the Colorado Springs Police Department created a program that offered families of the brigade's deployed soldiers an "extra level of comfort."

Families who lived off-post could sign up for the program, which asked patrol officers to contact them and make extra passes by their homes during the brigade's deployment to Afghanistan last year.

Kasales also spearheaded the brigade's Tactical Athlete Program, which offered soldiers 90 minutes of weekly conditioning meant to prevent injuries.

Kasales, who lives on post, will remain at Fort Carson but soon commute to Denver University, where he'll teach and attend classes for a year through an Army War College fellowship with the university's Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The change means Kasales can ditch his ever-beckoning BlackBerry and don a "houndstooth jacket with leather elbow patches and take it easy for a while," he said with a chuckle.

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FORT CARSON DIVISION TAKES CHARGE

Fort Carson's Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera assumed command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force Regional Command South on Monday from Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division commander, during a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Among those in attendance were Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the ISAF and United States Forces-Afghanistan commander, and Afghan Army Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid, according to a Monday news release from the 3rd Infantry Division, which is based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

In his remarks, Abrams called LaCamera "a warrior, a proven leader and a friend of Afghanistan."

"We will continue to build on the relationship our former regional command commanders have built," LaCamera said, according to the release. "We will continue to provide support for training, development and operations."

Five hundred soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division headquarters are in the process of deploying to Afghanistan for a year.

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