FORT DRUM The posts 3rd Brigade Combat Team welcomed its new commander Friday as it said farewell to its leader of the past 27 months.
At a change of command ceremony, Col. Samuel E. Whitehurst was formally introduced as the replacement to Col. Patrick D. Frank.
Col. Whitehurst, from New Bern, N.C., previously was assigned to the National War College in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 1998, he was assigned to Fort Drum, where he served as a company commander and deployed with the 10th Mountain Division to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
A trip here in May was the first time he had seen the post since 1998.
It really blew me away, Col. Whitehurst said. This area has exploded.
He said that he felt proud to join the brigade, and that he was inheriting a great organization.
I couldnt be more proud of what these guys did in Afghanistan, Col. Whitehurst said.
Col. Frank, who will go to the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., led the brigade through a grueling yearlong deployment to Afghanistan that ended in March.
In addition to making significant tactical gains in the dangerous Zhari and Maiwand districts, the brigade is credited with helping to create new schools and infrastructure.
The brigade also fostered relationships in the north country. In addition to making partnerships with several towns and villages, the brigade made academic and athletic connections with Syracuse University.
The connection of Col. Frank, a native of Cuba, N.Y., to the north country was strengthened by his wife, Jennifer K., a Sackets Harbor native and daughter of Jon P. Constance, a previous mayor of the village. Mr. Constance was one of several village residents who attended Fridays ceremony.
Col. Whitehurst said he wanted to continue building community relationships, calling it one of his top priorities.
That is key to success, he said.