The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed new commander Col. Mike Rand during a change-of-command ceremony conducted at the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, June 12. Rand and outgoing commander Col. Tim Lawson shared words of encouragement and thanks, while speaking of furthering the storied legacy of the 32nd Brigade.
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, shared these sentiments.
"What a great day for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and especially for the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team," Dunbar said during his opening remarks.
Dunbar went on to speak about the rich history of the 32nd and how both the outgoing and incoming commander played roles in helping the 32nd Brigade fulfill its responsibility to "be ready when this Nation calls."
Lawson was selected to become the next commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade in Colorado, and called his departure from Wisconsin and the 32nd "bittersweet."
"I will never forget the past two years as commander of the 32nd Brigade," Lawson said to the Soldiers of the Red Arrow during the ceremony. "I have been truly given a special treasure to have had the opportunity to command you all."
In his new assignment, Lawson will command the only brigade in the Army designated to protect the United States against the threat of a limited strategic ballistic missile attack.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Red Arrow's command sergeant major, said, "Col. Tim Lawson is one to the most honorable commanders, men. Loyal. He really lives the Army values. Integrity. He takes care of his people, and he also pushed us to become better than we thought we'd be. He will be sorely missed in the 32nd Brigade and by the state."
Lawson closed with the 32nd's motto: "Forward", ushering in new leadership in Rand.
"I am truly blessed and honored to serve as its next commander," Rand said about the Red Arrow.
Rand, who previously served as the brigade's deputy commander and in a variety of other command and staff assignments within the 32nd, reminded those present of the legacy of the unit and reassured the Soldiers of the 32nd of their future with the Red Arrow Brigade.
"We will continue to train, maintain, and equip our Soldiers and units," he said.
"We will continue to be ready if called upon," Rand added. "Everything that we do must be built upon our readiness."
"I will work hard to maintain the great tradition of the 32d 'Red Arrow' Brigade," Rand said.
Conde had high praise for his new commander.
"Col. Mike Rand, I've known him for 20-plus years," Conde said. "He's a troops' commander. He's a good, solid commander and he'll do well with the 32nd Brigade."
"It has been my pleasure to have worked with Col. Tim Lawson, and I look forward to new endeavors with Col. Rand," Conde said.