By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
Col. William Thigpen relinquished command of the 316th Cavalry Brigade July 7 to Col. Thomas Feltey at Brave Rifles Field on Harmony Church.
“(Col. Thigpen) has set the priority as readiness, enabling this organization to be the facility or plant where we can send our leaders through to become functionally trained or technically trained on the hard skills associated with war fighting,” said Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Thigpen received the Legion of Merit award for his exceptional service as commander of the 316th Cavalry Brigade.
Thigpen was also presented the Saint George Silver Medallion by Brig. Gen. John Kolasheski, 50th chief of armor and commandant of the Armor School, for his service within the Armor Association.
“Thigpen is a great teammate to have on your team or side when you’re in a scrap or if you need a hand to help your organization get better. I think that’s been a characteristic and attribute of (the brigade) under William Thigpen’s leadership, which set conditions for Thomas Feltey to continue that positive momentum,” said Kolasheski.
“It has truly been a pleasure and an honor serving at Fort Benning and the greater city of Columbus,” said Thigpen. “It’s because of the senior leaders here, at Fort Benning, that my experience has been enjoyable. For most commanders, it’s hard to get out the door because they want to stay, but our time has come. Thanks to everyone who came out. We appreciate your support.”
Thigpen’s next assignment will be in Washington, D.C, to work for the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Feltey previously served as the senior advisor to the Ministry of Peshmerga, and Northern Affairs for the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq in Erbil, Iraq.
“Thomas has vast experiences. He’s maneuvered on almost every platform. He’s worked at the strategic level and he’s fought at the tactical level. Tom, you earned the challenge. I’m sure you’re up for the task,” Wesley said.
“I stand here today humbled and excited to be joining the first-class teams of the Maneuver Center of Excellence,” said Feltey.
“Thanks to William and Tonja Thigpen for a great transition into command. You welcomed Deena and I with open arms from the moment we first established contact. You brought this brigade to a heightened sense of excellence and you’re going to be a tough act to follow. Godspeed on your next assignment.”
“To the Destroyers, I look forward to leading this incredible team and getting to know you all better over these next few weeks. It’s truly an honor to serve you,” he added.
Thigpen is a native of Hampton, Virginia. Upon graduation from Virginia State University in 1992, Thigpen commissioned as an Armor officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in Business from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Feltey enlisted in the New Jersey Army National Guard in February 1988 and served as an Infantryman in 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, 50th Armored Division. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1993 as a distinguished military graduate and commissioned as an Armor officer.
Find more ceremony photos at fortbenningphotos.com.