The sun burst through the clouds just as the flag was ceremoniously passed from one commander to another on the morning of Feb. 24, indicating the change of leadership for the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
Cameron Field on Fort Hood was the chosen spot for Brig. Gen. David Stewart, commander of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command from Fort Bliss, to host the changing of command ceremony from outgoing commander Col. Ethan Hall to incoming commander Col. Henry Bennett Jr.
Prior to the official ceremony, Stewart presented Hall with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding leadership during his almost two years as the 69th ADA Bde. commander. Stewart then presented a gift to Hall in the form of a mosaic stone featuring the Air Defense Artillery patch.
“You’re not going to meet anyone that is more passionate, more dedicated, not just to the mission, but to the folks that you see in uniform,” Stewart said. “(Hall) loves this uniform, he loves these Soldiers, and he leads by example every day.”
After the awards ceremony, the official change of command commenced on Cameron Field, with subordinate units under the 69th ADA Bde. represented by Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of 69th ADA Bde.; 4th Battalion, 5th ADA Regiment; 1st Bn., 44th ADA Regt.; and 1st Bn., 62nd ADA Regt. The ceremony included the “passing of the colors,” which traditionally symbolizes the passing of the command of the unit from one leader to another, and was followed by speeches from Stewart and the incoming and outgoing commanders.
“We honor two exemplary Soldiers and their families today,” Stewart said. “(Hall) lead with every fiber of his being. He was a tremendous example of virtue, honor and patriotism.
“Now the Team of Winners has a new commander, who is superbly qualified, is a remarkable leader of character, and has energy for days,” Stewart continued. “Congratulations, (Bennett), and well done.”
Hall, who took over command of the 69th ADA Bde. Oct. 30, 2019, stated that he was grateful to the Soldiers and family members of the brigade during his tenure as their commander.
“I have loved coming to work every day,” Hall stated during the ceremony. “Not for the missions, although they were important, but I just loved the people I served with. They are professionals who are passionate about the mission that they serve.”
Bennett, the incoming commander who recently served as the chief of staff and G-3 for the 32nd AAMDC, has served in the position of commander numerous times, to include three company-command level unis, one battalion, and now the brigade of 69th ADA.
“I am humbled and honored to join the branch of this great brigade,” Bennett said. “My family and I stand ready to serve alongside you in guarding the skies and the American way of life.”
“Soldiers and families of the great Lightening Brigade, your sacrifices are immeasurable, and your commitment unwaverable,” Bennett remarked. “You have helped make the Army the greatest land fighting force the world has ever seen. Please know, your nation is eternally grateful.”