Story and photos by
Sgt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers, family members and friends of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, “Warriors,” 25th Infantry Division, gathered on Weyand Field, here, to welcome Col. Thomas Mackey as the new commander during a change of command ceremony, July 20.
“I am honored to join the ranks of the Warrior Stryker Brigade Combat Team once more,” Mackey said. “My family and I are truly blessed, and we feel like we have returned home.”
Mackey took command from Col. Christopher Vanek, outgoing commander, 2nd BCT, 25th ID, who served as the brigade commander September 2011–July 2012 and was awarded the Legion of Merit for that service.
Vanek guided the brigade to successfully complete multiple theater security cooperation program initiatives during his tour.
“This unit has been blessed with Tom and Lisa Mackey,” Vanek said. “Tom knows this BCT better than any other officer in our Army, and success is guaranteed as he brings his wealth of experience, talent and commitment back to the 25th Infantry Division and the 2nd BCT.”
Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commander, 25th ID, served as reviewing officer for the ceremony. He praised both commanders for their tireless efforts to ensure Soldiers are always trained to remain combat ready.
“Under the command of Col. Vanek, the Soldiers of this brigade have served these colors proudly,” Fuller said. “Col. Vanek, you have led by personal example in every area. You have inspired your Soldiers to hold themselves to a higher standard, a Warrior Standard.”
Fuller went on to talk about Mackey joining the Warrior Brigade.
“In Col. Mackey, the 2nd Brigade is getting another proven warrior as their commander,” Fuller said. “A seasoned veteran of numerous deployments, he is well prepared for the challenges of training Soldiers and leading them in combat.”
Mackey, who is no stranger to Schofield Barracks or the unit, served as the squadron commander in the 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, “Strykehorse,” 2nd BCT, before moving on to other assignments.
“I should have purchased a lottery ticket when we received the news that we would be returning to Hawaii, the Tropic Lightning Division and the Schofield Barracks community,” Mackey said.
“(Col.) Vanek has stated in a few forums this past week that the Warriors are moving at the speed of war,” Mackey added. “His observations could not be closer to the truth given all of the great things this team does well every day.
“Together we will continue to move forward at the speed of war as we build upon the solid foundation established during Vanek’s tenure,” Mackey said.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Crosby and I look forward to working closely with all of you as we prepare ourselves for the next time our nation calls upon us,” Mackey added.
In keeping with Hawaiian customs, after the ceremony Mackey and his family received lei, which welcomed them into the brigade and back to the island.