After he thanked Joint Base Lewis-McChord headquarters, sister units, Families and local communities, outgoing 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Barry F. Huggins, remarked that he only had three words to offer his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Jennifer, at his relinquishment of command ceremony on Tuesday.
Continue to march, he quipped.
The words were humorous, yet fitting, as Huggins moves on to become the executive officer of United States Africa Command, leaving Sunday for his next duty station at Stuttgart, Germany.
Huggins commanded the Lancer Brigade for 35 months and has a history with JBLM units dating back to 2001 when he became the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He later served as 3rd Brigade executive officer during a deployment in 2003 and then as 2-3 Inf. battalion commander during its 15-month deployment from 2006 to 2007. He returned to JBLM in 2010 to lead the 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. after advanced training at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2008.
The Lancers deployed again in 2011, serving as protectors of the Afghan people during a shift of security operations to the Afghan National Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, commented during the ceremony.
You have helped set the country of Afghanistan on a better path and you have truly given the Afghans what the Taliban never could, and that is hope and opportunity for the future, Lanza said to the Soldiers standing in formation on Lewis Norths Lancer Field. Under Col. Huggins leadership, you have fought with honor and you have returned home with honor.
Huggins said the 2011 Afghanistan mission involved entering key terrain to figure out how rapidly 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. could turn over security duties to the Afghans and execute the transition.
Im pretty proud about the way that transition happened and pleased with the tactical performance as well as the professionalism displayed, Huggins said. They took the mission to heart. They went over there as protectors and returned with honor, and Im proud of them.
The ceremony carried with it all the heritage and tradition of the Lancer Brigade as Huggins, a graduate of North Carolina State University and Harvard, passed the brigade colors to interim commander, Lt. Col. Richard J. Edwards. Edwards served as the executive officer of 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., and since July 2011 worked as the deputy commander of 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.