A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade leader recently home from Afghanistan handed his post to a new commander today and closed the book on his 30-year career in the active-duty Army.
Col. Charles Webster filled his remarks at his change of command ceremony with “thank yous” to his fellow soldiers in the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and to his peers among Lewis-McChord’s senior officers.
“What a day, one of I’ve been dreading for, oh, about 30 months (since he took command),” he said in his prepared remarks. “But what an adventure, not only the last 30 months, but also the last 30 years.”
He’s being followed by Col.Hugh Bair, who recently served as the operations officer in the Army’s Warrior Transition Command. He led soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for much of the past decade. He deployed with the airborne troops three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
Webster arrived at Lewis-McChord in 2010 as a veteran officer who had led Alaska-based Stryker soldiers in Iraq. He joined the 3rd Brigade just after it returned from its last of three deployments to Iraq.
The 3rd Brigade under Webster deployed to Afghanistan in December 2011. It took on a huge swath of territory in Kandahar and Zabul provinces, fighting in some of the most contested areas of the war.
The troops returned from combat four months ago and are getting settled into new assignments.
Webster looked back at his time in the Army and praised the soldiers at his ceremony for volunteering to serve after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“Over the past 12 years, we all witnessed and Army that transformed – one that not only met the challenge of protecting our homes, but one that transformed to meet the enemies of our country in their home,” he said.
Webster and his wife Caroline have three children. Their eldest daughter is a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy.