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NEWS | July 19, 2012

Army North celebrates historic battalion change of command

By Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos Army North PAO

U.S. Army North celebrated a historical milestone July 12 as the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion conducted its inaugural change of command and change of responsibility at Fort Sam Houston's Rehearsal of Concept Drill Facility.

The Soldier and civilians of the command watched on as Lt. Col. Shannon Miller relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Zoltan Krompecher, and Command Sgt. Maj. Eddie Fields III relinquished responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Alvin Chaplin Sr.

"This is the first time in my career that we have recognized both a commander and a command sergeant major at the same time for their service," said Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, the commanding general of U.S. Army North and senior commander for Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis.

Miller's next assignment will be as a regimental tactical officer at West Point. Fields is retiring after 31 years of service with the U.S. Army.

"It has been an absolute honor and an extraordinary privilege to serve as your battalion commander over the past two years," said Miller. "There is no other organization quite like ours, with such a critical mission to serve and protect the Homeland, and I am very proud to have been a part of this great battalion."

Fields said that he, like Miller, his battle buddy, was honored to serve with the men and women of the Guardian battalion.

"I am a Soldier and have been a Soldier for 31 years," he said. "I have spent the past two years coaching and training the Soldiers (of Army North) to serve our country and protect our homeland and the nation. While I cannot take you all with me, I can keep the memories with me always."

When Miller and Fields assumed command and responsibility for the battalion on the battalion was activated Aug. 10, 2010, the battalion itself consisted of a building with three rooms. Two years later the battalion grew to three companies and also welcomed the 323rd Army Band to the team.

"Our Army somehow never fails to find the right person for the right job," said Caldwell. "In the early days of Army North, we picked a winner. Lt. Col. Shannon Miller and Command Sgt. Maj. Eddie Fields have built a new organization from scratch," he said. "And what an organization it's become. Where once we had a single company, commanded by a major, we now have a full battalion.

"To add complexity to their mission, we spread portions of their unit all over the United States. In addition to the Soldiers and Civilians at Fort Sam Houston, they have defense coordinating elements scattered over all ten (Federal Emergency Management Agency) regions in the continental United States and Puerto Rico."

Krompecher enlisted in the Army in 1985 as cannon crewman and volunteered for Special Forces. After earning a bachelor degree in secondary education at Ohio University, he was commissioned into the Military Intelligence branch. His most recent assignment was as a professor of Military Science at Western Michigan University.

Chaplin enlisted in the Army 1986 as a chaplain's assistant. Him most recent assignment was as the senior chaplain assistant with U.S. Army Forces Command.

Command Sgt. Major Fields, said Caldwell, is well-known by those in U.S. Army North for his use of parables, which he uses as tools teach and mentor his fellow Soldiers and officers.

Fields took an opportunity to share one of his favorites with those gathered (See Sidebar).

"It has been my privilege to serve as your command sergeant major," said Fields to the assembled Soldiers and Civilians.



[Fields took an opportunity to share one of his favorites with those gathered (See Sidebar). Fields told the assembled Soldiers and Civilians of HHBn: "You are coffee beans - and it has been my privilege to serve as your command sergeant major."]

"A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots; in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"