Change of Command

Col. Hope M. Williamson-Younce, second from left, prepares to assume command of the 627th Hospital Center during a change-of-command ceremony at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center May 29. Outgoing Commander, Col. Mark A. Stevens, right, passed the unit’s colors to presiding official, Col. Robert F. Howe, left, 1st Medical Brigade commander, who then passed the colors to Williamson-Younce, signifying the change of command. (Army Photo)

Welcome to summer, when flowers bloom and the military brings in new bosses.

At Fort Carson, several brigades have gotten new commanders in recent days, and its hospital has a pair of new leaders.

One Fort Carson brigade even got a new boss while stationed overseas. The 3rd Brigade Combat team held a change of command ceremony amid the Kuwaiti desert.

Col. Michael J. Simmering took the 4,000-soldier unit to Kuwait late last year for a nine-month tour. He handed the unit’s top job to Col. Grant S. Fawcett, a veteran soldier who led a squadron of the 8th Cavalry Regiment before taking the Fort Carson job.

Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team also got new leaders this month. Col. Dave Zinn and Command Sgt. Maj. Vincent Simonetti handed command of the brigade to Col. Scott Knight and Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Chandler.

At Fort Carson’s Public Health Activity, Col. Matthew Enroth traded the top job with Lt. Col. Gregory Reppas. And the post’s 627th Hospital Center saw Col. Mark Stevens pass command of the Hospital Center to Col. Hope Williamson-Younce.

The Army’s not alone in make a string of changes. The Air Force Academy got a new commandant of cadets in Brig. Gen. Michele Edmondson, and on Monday, Col. Brian Hartless will take over the school’s 10th Air Base Wing from Col. Shawn Campbell.

Another change with local ties is happening at the Pentagon where Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dan Dailey, who spent most of his career at Fort Carson, will hand the service’s top enlisted job to Command Sgt. Maj Michael Grinston.

As the Army’s top sergeant, Dailey ushered in a new Army fitness test, a policy that requires soldiers to be ready for deployment and even brought back the service’s pinks-and-greens uniform.

Dailey, his wife, Holly, and son Dakota have been familiar figures in the Pikes Peak region, where Dailey rose through the ranks with Fort Carson’s 4th Infantry Division. He served as the top enlisted soldier with the 1st Battalion of the 8th Infantry Regiment, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the 4th Infantry Division.

He’s someone who used his sergeants stripes to improve the lives of his troops. In Iraq, Dailey was constantly on the move, checking on soldiers and ensuring they were as safe and as comfortable as the war allowed.

Where there was mud, Dailey brought gravel. Where there was boredom, Dailey brought weightlifting equipment.

Dailey also encouraged some policies that soldiers were bound to love, including a more liberal view of tattoos.

But he has been hard-nosed when it comes to training.

He pushed tubby troops to shed pounds. And the rail-thin sergeant major was even tough when it came to the cake that’s used to celebrate the Army’s birthday.

He told troops to run a few miles before the birthday rites.

“Earn your cake,” he said.

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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