The White Sands Missile Range community said farewell to outgoing Garrison Commander Col. Brian Michelson and welcomed incoming Garrison Commander Col. Dave Brown during a United States Army Garrison Change of Command ceremony held at Memorial Park June 7. Michelson has served as WSMR Garrison commander since 2013.
“My kids went from being little squirts to turning into a young man and a young woman here,” Michelson said. “I have never been a part of a community that is so close and invested into the installation. Dave, you have a great team. I wish you…the best and I hope you enjoy WSMR as much as we have.”
During the ceremony Michelson also took the time to thank each garrison organization individually for continuing to do a great job of overproducing while being under resourced. He also thanked his “Iron Triangle,” which consisted of Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Wofford and Garrison Deputy Commander Kate McNeely. “It would have been a very difficult job if we didn’t have that tightness, loyalty and determination to serve the nation and accomplish the mission,” he said.
Michelson, his wife, Kira, daughter Jillian, and son Benjamin, will be moving to Washington D.C., where Michelson will serve as the Senior Army Fellow to the Atlantic Council.
Installation Management Central Region Director Joe C. Capps was the host of the event and led the passing of the guidon. In his speech, Capps thanked the community for joining in on a time-honored tradition that celebrates well-qualified leaders. He also took the time to thank Michelson for a job well done during his leadership. He said commanding a garrison in today’s Army is a tough business and requires the balancing of a resource-constrained environment which is something that Michelson did exceptionally well.
“Through intense personal interaction and focus on transparency…Col. Michelson made significant advancements,” he said. “With consistent declining manpower, his planning and execution efforts provided stability for the team. Brian was clearly the right leader at the right time.”
Capps went on to say that Brown is a proven leader and is ideally suited for the position. He said he knows Brown will do a good job of carrying out what Michelson has started and contributing his own strategic efforts.
Brown, who has 25 years of Army leadership experience, previously served as the deputy commander for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart, among several others.
“This assignment marks another challenge to lead a diverse workforce in supporting the national gem that is WSMR,” Brown said during his speech. “We have many challenges ahead but we will overcome these challenges by pulling together as a team and leveraging our many unique assets and talents.”
Prior to his service in the military, Brown’s father served in the Air Force out of Holloman Air Force Base. Brown lived there until his father retired in 1981. Brown said he and his wife, Christina, are excited about the next two years at WSMR.