FORT IRWIN, Calif. — In an Aug. 28th ceremony at the National Training Center, Col. Richard R. Coffman and Command Sgt. Maj. Jon A. Martin passed command of Operations Group to Col. Christopher R. Norrie and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Coffey.
Brig. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commanding general of NTC and Fort Irwin, served as the reviewing officer. The ceremony was also attended by retired Brig. Gen. James O’Neal, Command Sgt. Maj. Edison Rebuck, and distinguished guests from across the country. Following the invocation, opening remarks, and presentation of the national colors, the two command teams joined Broadwater at the center of the field for the ceremonial passing of the Operations Group colors.
Operations Group works tirelessly to “Train the Force” by serving as Observer/Controllers for rotational units at NTC. In his remarks, Broadwater stressed the importance of Operations Group to the NTC mission and the U.S. Army as a whole.
“Commanding the Operations Group at the NTC gives the most experienced officers in the Army a chance to influence the entire force by training brigade combat teams in the art of warfighting,” he said. “Think about it – every year Operations Group will have a personal hand in enhancing the ability of over 10 brigade commanders and sergeant majors, with their subordinate units, to successfully win the first fight. That’s an enormous responsibility.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we have the right leader driving our military to win in future combat as the commander of Operations Group,” he added.
Norrie returns to Fort Irwin after serving as the commander of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. Earlier in his career, he served as an Observer/Controller as part of the Cobra Team of Operations Group. Addressing the troops and audience, he said he and his family are “grateful, humbled, and so proud,” to join the NTC team once again. He also recognized the legacy of excellence that he inherits from previous Operations Group commanders, including Broadwater, O’Neal, and Coffman – all of whom were present at the ceremony.
“Sirs, my only hope is to live up to the proud legacy that you’ve established here. Our Army and Soldiers could never thank you enough for your selfless service, for everything you’ve done to make this such a great team, and our Army better,” he said. He continued, “The biggest compliment I can pay, the best return on investment I can think of, is to work tirelessly to build on the great momentum that you’ve built here in Operations Group and in our Army.”
Coffman, the outgoing commander, praised the Army for selecting Norrie and Coffey to lead Operations Group. He also thanked Martin and the Soldiers, leaders, and staff of Operations Group.
“We’re the greatest nation in the world because of leaders and soldiers like you,” he said. “Thank you for what you do, and I’d go to war with you anytime, anywhere. That’s a very high standard for me. You’re incredible.”