Leadership change today for 4th Brigade at Lewis-McChord
THE NEWS TRIBUNE
In a sign that the three Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigades are turning the page on their recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and looking ahead to whatever comes next, two key leadership posts will change hands today in the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Col. John Norris will relinquish command of the brigade to Col. Michael Getchell at a 10 a.m. ceremony on Watkins Parade Field. At the same time, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Huggins will turn over senior noncommissioned officer responsibility of the 4,000-soldier brigade to Command Sgt. Maj. Paul D. Balmforth.
Both Norris and Huggins have been with the 4th Brigade since August 2008, and both returned to Lewis-McChord last summer after a 12-month deployment to Baghdad province. Theirs was the last American combat brigade to leave Iraq ahead of President Barack Obama’s Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations.
Norris will remain at Lewis-McChord for his next assignment as the operations officer for I Corps.
Getchell arrives from Fort Campbell, Ky., where he has served as the assistant chief of staff of the 101st Airborne Division. He also commanded a battalion of the 101st Airborne in Iraq in 2008.
Getchell will move from one of the most storied U.S. military units since its formation in World War II to an infantry brigade that was flagged in 2006 as part of the Army’s transformation plans.
Matt Misterek, staff writer