Col. James Moyes, right, receives the brigade colors as a symbol of responsibility from Brig. Gen. John Hoefert, First Army Division West deputy commanding general, during the 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West change of commander ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas, July 10, 2020. Moyes’ previous assignment was on the joint staff at the Pentagon. | U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Gray
FORT BLISS, TEXAS – Col. Martin Schmidt passed command of the 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West to Col. James Moyes during a ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas, July 10th, 2020.
Change of command ceremonies are part of the military tradition that mark the conclusion of one commander’s tenure, and usher in the next chapter for a unit with a new commander.
Col. Martin Schmidt has been with the Dagger Brigade, for exactly 2 years, having assumed command on this date in 2018. In that time, his unit has trained, validated and mobilized more than 50,000 service members. The Mobilization Force Generation Installation operated at Fort Bliss is the premier location for National Guard and Reserve troops to make their final preparations before heading overseas.
A common theme throughout the Army in recent years has been: do more with less. Schmidt said the 347 active-duty, 405 mobilized reservists, and 339 non-mobilized reservists that make up 5th Armored Brigade have done just that.
“In the past two years, we, as an enterprise, have mobilized 21 brigades, 53 battalions, 253 companies for a total of 58,591 National Guard and Reserve service members,” said Schmidt.
The volume of service members trained during the last 2 years created ample opportunities for the 5th Armored Brigade to overcome obstacles and provide tough, relevant training to deploying units.
“Regardless of the long nights chasing passports, visas, security clearances, testing and retesting crews, finding and fixing gear, last minute range and ammunition requests, shooting for proficiency and lethality, and the mounds of paperwork that follows all that, I could not be more proud of having this opportunity to serve within First Army and the greater Fort Bliss enterprise,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt’s next assignment is with United States Special Operations Command.
Col. James Moyes most recently worked for the joint staff at the Pentagon on the counter terrorism team before taking up the mantle of leadership for the brigade. Moyes said his experience and time learning about Dagger Brigade during his transition into command helped him identify his priorities.
“Command Sergeant Major Walls and the 5th Armored Brigade team out there today, thank you for your professionalism, and your support during this transition,” said Moyes. “I look forward to working with all of you to facilitate the readiness of the nation.”
Commanders are responsible for their units’ successes, shortcomings, and balancing mission requirements versus soldier welfare. Moyes noted he sees the brigade continuing its legacy of providing tough, relevant training to deploying units while bolstering Dagger soldiers’ personal and professional development under his command.
“The mission of 5th Armored Brigade is truly extraordinary, and I am honored to be a part of it,” Moyes said.