In front of Family, friends and service members, one Fort Huachuca commander said his goodbyes and another was introduced during the U.S. Army Garrison Change of Command ceremony on historic Brown Parade Field Wednesday morning.
Following the playing of the national anthem and the invocation, Col. Dan McFarland, outgoing USAG commander, passed the guidon to Thomas Schoenbeck, reviewing official and region director, Installation Management Command Central Region, who then passed it to Col. Thomas Boone, incoming USAG commander.
“And so it is … You have put your heart and soul into something more important than yourself in the last two years. In the blink of an eye, you have handed that responsibility over to the next commander who will do the same,” Schoenbeck said in his opening remarks, praising McFarland for his hard work and dedication while assigned as garrison commander.
Schoenbeck provided examples of McFarland’s accomplishments over the last few years, including positioning Fort Huachuca to become a special operations joint and interagency training center of excellence and his participation in the birth of the Army’s largest solar project to be constructed here at Fort Huachuca.
“Dan I’ll just tell you, your leadership here, and accomplishments, will withstand the test of time. I am certain of that,” Shoenbeck said, as he thanked McFarland and his Family for their dedication to the mission and Fort Huachuca.
Turning his attention to the new commander, Schoenbeck said, “Tony, I welcome you, Stephanie, Emily and Evan to the IMCOM and Fort Huachuca garrison team. I know you will lead Fort Huachuca garrison with the same professionalism, pride and expertise that you have demonstrated throughout your career and you will continue to meet our mission.”
During his final speech as garrison commander, McFarland welcomed and thanked the friends, Family and members of the community for their attendance, commenting on their effects on his time at Fort Huachuca. He recognized the dedication of those he worked with, making note that “these people love to serve.”
“Our Family has been touched in many, many ways,” McFarland said. “This community has made us better people and a stronger Family. I hope we gave as much as we received. I can tell you this, as we sat down and discussed where Kim and the boys would stay while I was away, the many local, state and even federal connections represented in the audience today made this decision very easy. They’d stay right here … here in our home, in Arizona,” he added.
Boone, who recently served as the director of the Training, Development and Support Directorate at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, was the last to approach the podium. He opened his speech by thanking the McFarland Family for their contributions to the community, their friendship and their professionalism.
After thanking his Family for their support, Boone said, “Mr. Schoenbeck, and Command Sergeant Major Moore, I appreciate your mentoring … and I look forward to working with you, region staff and the fellow garrison commanders. Thanks for the confidence to let me lead this command.”
Boone said that he looks forward to working with Team Huachuca, alongside his fellow commanders and sergeants major. “I expect that we will continue to grow the close relationship that, in fact Dan highlighted it, that this fort has with our surrounding community,” he added.
In closing, Boone pledged his commitment to abide by three rules while serving as the new garrison commander, “Number one, do the right thing every day. Number two, take care of the Soldiers, Families, Civilians, our community and the environment. And number three, if all else fails, see number one.”
Concluding the ceremony, B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) provided a traditional, 1880s-style pistol charge down the parade field.
McFarland leaves Fort Huachuca for a deployment to Afghanistan. His wife Kim, and their two sons, will remain at Fort Huachuca.