As part of the Army 2020 concept, the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion inactivated on Aug. 6 and reactivated as the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion under the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The ceremony continued on Watkins Field, where Lt. Col. Douglas E. Brown relinquished command to Lt. Col. Michael J. Baims.
Operations officer of the 14th Bde. Engr. Bn., Maj. Yanson T. Cox said the Army 2020 concept means the unit underwent a Total Army analysis to assess how it fit into the Army’s needs.
“So in the analysis, it was revealed that there were gaps in engineer capabilities,” Cox said. “So then it was decided out of this analysis to add engineers back into the (Stryker brigade combat team). They have added a second company to the SBCTs and to battalion headquarters to help with the SBCT’s mission command.”
The 555th Engineer Brigade commander Col. Timothy Holman, whose organization farewelled the 14th Engr. Bn. in the ceremony, said the transition was significant.
“Beforehand, we had a little over 100 engineer Soldiers to support 3,000 to 4,000 Soldiers,” Holman said. “Now, we have two engineer companies and headquarters and other enablers within the brigade. The Army really got it right this time. The SBCT commanders now, more than ever, have a robust engineer team capability if required.”
Cox said the engineers perform vital tasks: building roads, breaching to reduce obstacles and route clearance.
“It’s a little bit more than just changing names,” Cox said. “It adds an engineer battalion commander, engineer sergeant major and engineer staff that’s capable of really helping the SBCT use engineer assets.”
Brown to Baims
“During his tenure, Douglas (Brown) worked hard,” Holman said. “He helped develop construction projects while saving lots of dollars. He earned the respect of those around him because he loved his work. He is a strong advocate and developed strong leaders.”
Brown served in a variety of command and staff assignments ranging from platoon leader in 24th Infantry Division; company executive officer in 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea and opposing Forces company commander in 54th Engineer Battalion, 120th Engineer Brigade at Bamberg, Germany. He deployed three times since 9/11 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
His next assignment will be the chief of Mobility Branch in the Full Dimension Protection Division of the Army G8 at Department of the Army.
Brown said he is humbled to have had the opportunity “to serve with Soldiers that put others before themselves.”
“As I think back to the last two years, the term ‘team’ is something I take great pride in,” Brown said. “I am blessed to have served with Soldiers who are willing and able to do more than what’s expected.”
Baims said he is excited to “build strong, resilient Soldiers and families.”
“We will enable and enhance,” Baims said. “It’s an honor to assume command of the ‘Rugged’ Battalion.”
Baims graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and holds a Master’s of Business Administration and Master’s of Arts in Public Administration from Webster University, St. Louis, Mo. and a Master’s of Military Art and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He served in a variety of command and staff positions: platoon leader, company executive officer in the 46th Engineer Battalion, where he deployed to Nicaragua for humanitarian assistance/disaster relief; brigade operations and plans officer in 1st Armored Division Engineer Brigade, Giessen, Germany and company commander of B Company, 16th Engineer Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His military education includes the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses; Sapper Leader; Airborne; Air Assault; Combined Arms Services Staff School; Command and General Staff College and School of Advanced Military Studies. He is married with two daughters.
Holman said he served with Baims in Germany and remembers him as “incredibly smart and talented.”
“Your reputation speaks for itself, the Army certainly picked the right command team to follow Douglas (Brown),” Holman said. “I am confident he will take the lead to command in a time of change and challenge.”