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Soldiers, Family members and civilians assembled June 20 as Col. William Thigpen assumed command of the 316th Cavalry Brigade from Col. David Davidson during a ceremony on Brave Rifles Field at Harmony Church here.
Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster said Thigpen was deserving of his new position.
"He has broad experience and has earned a reputation as a visionary, compassionate leader," McMaster said. "There is simply no one better to lead this great brigade and build on this great team's accomplishments. We are fortunate to welcome another great commander."
Thigpen held a number of command assignments, several staff and special assignments, the most recent was as aide-de-camp to the vice chief of staff of the Army, and has multiple badges and awards to include a Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster.
His military education includes Airborne, Jumpmaster and Combined Arms Services Staff schools. He also holds a master's degree in Business from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Thigpen expressed his appreciation for the opportunity and said he looks forward to continuing the legacy of excellence Davidson helped build within the brigade.
"To be a brigade commander is truly an honor and a privilege that is not taken lightly," he said. "The Soldiers and DA civilians (who) are assigned to the 316th Cavalry Brigade can expect 100 percent commitment from me over the next two years as we serve together to achieve the objective of the MCoE."
For the first couple of months, it is important that a commander makes an assessment before implementing any change, Thigpen said.
"(Davidson) has done a great job for the brigade thus far," Thigpen said. "He has got it at the 10-yard line and it is my job to move it into the end zone."
McMaster also praised Davidson's accomplishments.
"Over the last two years, Dave Davidson has done a brilliant job of leading this distinguished and storied brigade - an organization that is critical to strengthening the tactical and technical expertise of our Army," he said. "And, he's done a tremendous job in transitioning a Cavalry brigade into a combined arms brigade that has had a profound impact on our Army."
Davidson presented Thigpen with three symbolic items: a sign representing the destroyer brigade, a Velcro patch from his uniform and a coin from his pocket. The sign announces Thigpen as the commander of the best and most influential brigade in the Army, Davidson said. The patch is a reminder that time should be used wisely, and the coin is a reminder of the unit and what he is here to do.
"I leave you with one request," Davidson said. "Train them hard, hold them to the standard. Never forget that their influence and yours will impact the (future) generations."
Davidson will next serve as the operations officer for U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.