Fort Riley Garrison change of command

Col. Will McKannay will take over command from current Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Shrader today.

At a Change of Ceremony July 16, soldiers and civilians of the 1st Infantry Division and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley welcomed Col. William B. McKannay as the new garrison commander replacing Col. Stephen Schrader.

McKannay, Schrader and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Speichert, garrison senior noncommissioned officer, rode horses provided by the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard, to Riley’s Community Center for the official start of the ceremony.

The passing of the garrison colors symbolizes many things. The first being the final act of the outgoing commander with Shrader receiving the Garrison flag from Speichert, the garrison command sergeant major and advisor to the garrison commander. The second is the signaling of a successful command and transfer of responsibility with Schrader passing the flag to McKannay. The final one being the first act of the incoming commander as McKannay passes the flag to Speichert completing the change of command.

Schrader thanked everyone for the love shown to him and his family during the time they had been at the installation and praised McKannay.

“I know that you’re going to be the smarter, better, faster, stronger garrison commander that is going to take the installation to the next level,” he said. “Thank you and I’m very happy to see that you’re coming in and taking the reins of the installation.”

McKannay said he was humbled to have been chosen as the garrison commander for Fort Riley.

“It’s humbling to be selected for garrison command,” he said. “But not just for garrison command in general, but for here at Fort Riley, home of the 1st Infantry Division. With such a wonderful history, strong history, not only of an army installation that is on the forefront of the Army’s mission, but also in building the readiness of forces to support our national security objectives.”

He said he received two pieces of advice from Shrader. Go out and build relationships with the surrounding communities. And the second being do everything possible to support the 1st Infantry Division.

“Make sure that the soldiers are have the best possible facilities to train in and to live in,” he said. “And that Fort Riley provides the best possible support to their families in enabling that the total family concept to support the Army’s mission. Those are the two biggest things he told me and I that’ll be my goal every single day.”

McKannay said he looks forward to working with the team at Fort Riley and the surrounding Flint Hills communities.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here and commanding the garrison at Fort Riley,” he said. “And I look forward to the challenges.”

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