A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade commander on Friday paid homage to the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings as he said goodbye to the soldiers he has led for the past two years.
“As people go about their daily lives, many of them do not recognize the significance of this day,” Col. Louis Zeisman said in his farewell remarks to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, referring to sacrifices made in the early days of the allied invasion of Europe.
He addressed hundreds of soldiers standing in formation on a sunny day at JBLM’s main parade grounds, telling them they well represented their predecessors at Normandy Beach.
“I truly believe that those soldiers if they could look at you today, you would make them proud,” he said.
Zeisman was the brigade’s third commander at JBLM and the first who was not asked to take it to Afghanistan. Instead, his soldiers were sent on a first-in-the Army series of exercise with allies in South and East Asia called Pacific Pathways.
Those ties continue. One of the brigade’s platoons today is at an exercise in Australia. More are headed to Pacific exercises this summer.
Zeisman, too, is leaving for a Pacific assignment. He’ll be posted at Army Pacific in Hawaii.
He was known at JBLM as an energetic commander who’d lead physical training at all hours. He joked that he’s sentimental enough to “cry at a beer commercial,” and choked up as he thanked his family for attending Friday’s ceremony.
Zeisman is being succeed by Col. Jerry Turner, who has deployed once to the Gulf War, three times to the Iraq War and once to the Afghanistan War.
This is a big year for changes of command at JBLM. Leaders of JBLM’s 7th Infantry Division, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 62nd Airlift Wing, 17th Field Artillery Brigade and 555th Engineer Brigade are due to turn over by late August.