FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Fort Riley bid farewell to two of its leaders Thursday who have each served our country for 30 years.
At the same time, the installation welcomed two new soldiers who will oversee the installation’s day-to-day operations.
Garrison Commander Colonel William Clark and Garrison Command Sergeant Major Colvin Bennett marked their retirements during a ceremony at Fort Riley’s Garrison Headquarters and were honored for their long careers and accomplishments.
The garrison commander and command sergeant major have roles similar to that of a city manager and deputy city manager.
Clark addressed the crowd and said there are three undeniable truths about the Army: the strength of the Army lies with noncommissioned officers, the strength of our soldiers lies within their families and the support from the surrounding community makes our fighting force the best of the best.
“There’s a reason why the United States has the most formidable Army in the world- our noncommissioned officer corps. No other country even comes close to the backbone that our Army possesses. The professionalism and tactical and technical competency that our NCOs bring to the fight is clearly second to none. As yourself, when you want something done or want someone taken care, who do you ask? You ask a sergeant,” he said.
“The strength of our soldiers lies within our family and especially within their spouses…. The people of our nation and communities enable our Army to be great. Another undeniable truth which sets our Army apart from other armies of this world is the tremendous support that we receive from those around us.. People of our nation and our communities enable our Army to be great,” he added.
Clark is staying in the area to lead the Flint Hills Regional Council.
CSM Bennett told the crowd: “There’s only one thing that has not really changed over the course of my career- the basic need of the soldiers. All they ask for is a quality leadership- leadership that genuinely cares about them and treats them with dignity and respect, enforces high standards and a leader that they trust enough to go to when they have problems.”
“To the thousands of soldiers and family members with whom we have served with, we say thanks for allowing the Bennetts to be a part of your lives. Our only hope is that in some small way, we made a difference in yours,” he added.
Clark and Bennett passed command of Fort Riley’s services, infrastructure and civilian workforce to Colonel Andrew Cole Jr. and Command Sergeant Major Terry Gardner.
“It is no secret that this installation has captured Army-level recognition as one of the premiere locations at which to serve. These achievements and recognition are the result of creative thought, hard work and invaluable support from our soldiers, our Central Flint Hills partners and the unyielding efforts of our civilian workforce,” Col. Cole told the crowd.
He added: “As we charge ahead into an ever-changing fiscal environment, I have no doubts that the garrison working along with all of its partners…will continue to provide world class support to our community consisting of over 50,000 family members, civilian workers, retirees and soldiers.”
“I will give all Fort Riley soldiers, families and the civilian workforce 110% of my time and energy to make this the best installation in the Army,” CSM Gardner said during the ceremony.