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Soldiers, Family members, veterans and civilians gathered June 26 as Col. David Fivecoat assumed command of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade from Col. Kyle Lear during a ceremony at Victory Pond on Harmony Church.
Brig. Gen. George Schwartz, Maneuver Center of Excellence deputy commanding general, Army National Guard, and reviewing officer, said Fivecoat's leadership skills will be a tremendous asset to the cadre, students and Families of the ARTB.
"(Fivecoat) brings incredible wealth of experience with him, having served our nation in uniform for 21 years in a wide variety of leadership and staff positions in Airborne, air assault, Armor and mechanized Infantry units," he said.
Fivecoat's assignments include participation in contingency operations in Kosovo and Bosnia, three combat tours in Iraq and a combat tour leading the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, in Afghanistan.
His most recent assignment was with the joint staff at the Pentagon.
Fivecoat is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has multiple degrees and is a published writer. He is Ranger qualified and is a master parachutist. In addition, he has several badges and awards that include the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Air Assault Badge, Valorous Unit Award and four Bronze Star medals.
Fivecoat commended Lear, the outgoing commander, on the ARTB transition and said he looks forward to the upcoming challenges in leading the brigade.
"Your work establishing the (ARTB), integrating (1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment) and incorporating the flight company, as well as upholding the high standard of the Ranger course (is) an incredible legacy," he said. "I will work hard to sustain the climate and culture that you established."
Fivecoat pledged to continue the standards and evolvement of the courses within the brigade and to develop the leaders and Soldiers that pass through to make the Army better.
Schwartz said commanding the brigade during such a crucial time wasn't a small task and Lear proved himself to be more than up for the challenge.
"Not only did he reside over the reorganization of what was the Ranger Training Brigade, he did so by providing guidance that will allow a seamless transition for the students and cadre," Schwartz said.
Lear was responsible for training more than 25,000 Soldiers and graduated more than 20,000 Airborne, Ranger, pathfinder and jumpmaster students, Schwartz said.
Lear said Fivecoat has the time of his life in front of him with the brigade and will soon understand how lucky he is to have been chosen to lead it.
"The brigade couldn't have asked for a better commander than you," Lear said. "You were hand selected for this special position and we all know that you will lead with conviction and compassion as you prepare for the brigade for the missions that lie ahead."