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Fort A.P. Hill gets new leaders

More than 100 people came out to celebrate the changing leadership at Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green in an emotional ceremony that honored outgoing service members and their families.

The Change of Command and Change of Responsibility ceremonies Friday in Beaverdam Field marked the end of Lt. Col. Peter Dargle’s and Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Whitcomb’s tenure at the installation as they ceremonially passed on their duties to Lt. Col. David Meyer and Command Sgt. Maj. Weiquan Ho, respectively.

The Fort Lee 392nd Army Band performed at the ceremony, which was narrated by Jay Poirier, director of plans, training and mobilization at the fort.

Both Dargle and Meyer delivered short speeches thanking colleagues and families for their continued support.

Dargle also issued a challenge, of sorts, to the incoming command by requesting their dedication in completing “the tasks we have so passionately worked for” and not to back down from challenges.

In addition to formally finishing out their duties, the Dargle and Whitcomb families received red rose bouquets in full bloom to commemorate their relationship with the fort. The Meyer and Ho families received bouquets of yellow rosebuds to signify their new relationships, which Poirier said “will bloom in time.”

Additional remarks were given by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, commanding general of the joint force headquarters in the national capital region, and Davis Tindoll Jr., Atlantic regional director of installation management command for the U.S. Army.

Dargle and his family will move to Fort Riley, Kan., where he will operate as the executive officer of the Fourth Brigade Combat Team for the First Infantry Division.

Whitcomb will move on to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he will work as an instructor.

Distinguished civilian guests in attendance included Davis Tindoll Jr., Atlantic region director Port Royal Mayor Nancy Long, Bill Hession, chairman of the Fredericksburg Military Affairs Council, and various officials from the town of Bowling Green and Caroline, Essex and Spotsylvania counties.

Fort A.P. Hill, one of the largest U.S. Army installations on the East Coast, is a regional training center for service members. In a fort pamphlet from 1995, it coined its own motto: “Where America sharpens its combat edge.”

In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Buchanan called out those duties as a reason why Fort A.P. Hill remains more important than ever.

“The strength of this nation is our army; the strength of this army is our soldiers; the strength of the soldiers are our families,” Buchanan said, “and that’s what makes us ‘Army Strong.’”

Dawnthea Price: 540/374-5403

dprice@freelancestar.com 

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