Posted: Sep 10, 2012 7:51 AM by MTN News
Updated: Sep 10, 2012 7:51 AM
The Montana National Guard welcomed a new commander on Sunday.
A Change of Command Ceremony was held at the Montana National Guard Armory in Butte. Colonel Patrick J. Nugent relinquished his command to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Emerson.
"Command is always the best part," Nugent said. "Being a company commander, being a battalion commander and now having been a brigade commander, really that's where you can make the most influence upon units, and the organization, and help the most."
Nugent's father was part of the National Guard. He was an "army brat" growing up and he wanted to know the other side of it, he said, "what it was like to serve."
"He brought his team together and he did a fantastic job throughout his time as a commander of this organization," said John Walsh, land component commander for the Montana National Guard. Walsh chose Nugent to take on the duties of commander more than two years ago.
Nugent faced plenty of tough decisions during his time as commander, Walsh said, including deploying men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I feel that I've made a difference in setting up this organization for success," Nugent said.
Like Nugent, the incoming commander comes from a tradition of service in his family.
"This is something that I always wanted to do, join the Army National Guard," said Emerson, incoming commander for the Montana National Guard.
Emerson has spent more than one year in Iraq, and he said his experience there will greatly contribute to his leadership ability as commander.
"Deployment was probably the highlight professionally of my career," Emerson said. "I really enjoyed it and learned a lot."
Emerson said he hopes to continue the hard work Nugent has carried out.
"Colonel Emerson is going to do a great job," Nugent said. "I started it at the beginning and now he is going to take it forward to the next level."
"We're expecting him to improve the readiness level so that when he hands this unit over in two or three years that it is a much better organization than it is today," Walsh said.