Soldiers, Family members and supporters of the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, gathered at Brown Parade Field here on July 12 for the 40th ESB change of command ceremony.
The ceremony honored Lt. Col. Andrew McClelland, outgoing battalion commander, and welcomed Lt. Col. David Thomas, incoming commander.
McClelland relinquished command of the 40th ESB after almost two years as the battalion commander. During that time, McClelland said he realized that being a commander is about the honor to lead Soldiers, and that the Soldiers of the 40th ESB stand as some of the best in today’s Army.
“I have had the extreme honor to hang the sign outside my door that says I am their commander,” McClelland said. “It has been humbling, and without a doubt the best two years of my career.”
The beginning of his tenure was marked by the Monument Fire recovery, a time when Soldiers from the 40th ESB delayed or returned early from post-deployment to assist surrounding communities affected by the incident. Also under McClelland’s watch, the battalion supported missions to Honduras as the communications provider as a part of the Department of Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Force.
McClelland spoke highly of Thomas during his remarks at the ceremony.
“I’ve known Lieutenant Colonel Thomas almost my entire 20 years serving together at Fort Bragg, and I cannot think of another person I’d rather turn over the guidon to.” McClelland said. “He will easily pick up the football and keep taking it down the field.”
Thomas is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering and was commissioned as a signal corps officer.
Thomas arrived at Fort Huachuca from the United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
About being a commander, Thomas agreed with McClelland, stating that the command role is the pinnacle of an officer’s career, and that he is committed to earning the trust that the nation and the Army have placed in him.
“To the Soldiers and Families of the 40th ESB, thank you again for the warm welcome,” Thomas said. “I am proud to join your ranks, and am committed to your well-being and quality of life. I promise to give you 100 percent of my efforts, and then some, each and every day.
“In return, I ask that each of you do the same and that the 40th ESB, our battalion, remain a unit of excellence.”
The 40th ESB is a currently organized as a rapidly deployable expeditionary signal battalion with more than 450 Soldiers.
McClelland will now move on to his next duty position as the deputy brigade commander for the 11th Sig. Bde. at Fort Hood, Texas.