FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Surrounded by Army pageantry and traditions, Major General William Mayville Jr. passed command of Fort Riley and the Army’s Oldest Division, the Big Red One, to Major General Paul Funk II.
During the change of command ceremony Wednesday at Fort Riley's Cavalry Parade Field, both men were described as great leaders on the battlefield and here at home.
For the past two years, Mayville has been at the helm of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley and recently led the 1st ID’s Headquarters in a regional command in Eastern Afghanistan, overseeing all military operations in a mountainous sector spanning 14 provinces and 450 miles- helping Afghan forces take a more prominent role.
He’s off to the Pentagon to work for the Department of the Army. He will serve as the assistant deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army operations and plans.
"A nation needs its Army. Freedom loving people cannot be free without one. And a nation needs men and women like the ones in our formation today who are willing to step out into the dark and unknown for the safety and well being of citizens... Over the past two years, I’ve seen firsthand the accomplishments of this incredible division and I’ve been a witness to the things that make it great.. I’ve seen and had the privilege to be part of the best division in our Army and I have been astonished at the level of support and community outreach that we receive from the friends in the central Flint Hills," Mayville told those in attendance.
"It has been an honor to have served within your ranks and to have had the extreme privilege of having held the title of your commanding general. May God continue to bless you. May God continue to bless this great division and the United States Army," he added.
General Funk has 31 years in the Army and has been serving as Deputy Commanding General of the Big Red One, overseeing operations and making sure units make their training requirements. He's eager to lead thousands of troops and employees that fall under the 1st Infantry Division and those at Fort Riley.
"I am honored to be standing here today proudly embarking on a great responsibility to command these brave men and women who stand before you," he said during the ceremony.
Even with the changing war climate, Funk says Fort Riley’s soldiers must remain ready to answer the nation’s call.
"Our environment is changing but our charge remains the same. Our duty is to remain globally available on our nation’s behalf by maintaining the highest states of readiness. We will accomplish this by maintaining focus on the fundamentals with our soldiers and families, training smart and hard," he said.