Command group receives warm welcome
Members of the 1st Inf. Div. command team salute while “Honors” is played during the Victory Honors ceremony July 24 at Victory Park, Fort Riley. Photo by: Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1ST INF. DIV.
Story by: Amanda Kim Stairrett
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Two infantrymen and an aviator became some of the Army's newest "Big Red One" Soldiers at Fort Riley.
The 1st Infantry Division hosted a July 24 Victory Honors ceremony to welcome Brig. Gen. Sean P. Swindell as the deputy commanding general for maneuver, Col. Frank M. Muth as the deputy commanding officer for support, and Col. David Miller as the division's chief of staff.
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley, called the three the "newest members of our Victory Team."
Swindell came to Fort Riley from the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, where he served as assistant commanding general for Special Operations Forces. He has spent much of his career with the Special Forces community.
He thanked Funk and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno for the privilege to serve as the 1st Inf. Div.'s deputy commanding general for maneuver.
"I am deeply humbled, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve such an important organization at such an exciting time in its history," Swindell said. "As I join the Big Red One today, I am humbled by the great company I'm joining, intrigued by the challenges we will face together and inspired by the recent achievements of Soldiers from across this incredible division. I am joining a magnificent division full of pride, discipline, spirit, values, commitment and passion."
He said it was a wonderful moment for his wife and him.
"Gen. Creighton Abrams (Jr.) reminded us that Soldiering is an affair of the heart, and it has never been better to be a Big Red One trooper. My name is Sean Swindell, and I am a Big Red One Soldier: brave, responsible and on point for our nation."
Swindell, a 1988 graduate of the Citadel, and his wife, Jerri Lynn, have two children.
Muth returns to the division after serving as commander of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. from 2009 to 2011. He most recently served in Washington, as the director of materiel for Force Development, Army G8.
"We just can't get rid of this guy," Funk joked during the Victory Honors ceremony. "We sent him to Washington, and they sent him right back. Thank goodness."
Muth led the CAB when it doubled in size and transformed to assume responsibility for all Army aviation support in Iraq, to make it the Army's first enhanced combat aviation brigade.
As a squadron commander in the mid-2000s, Muth led a cavalry squadron's reflagging and relocation from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Fort Campbell, Ky., which required a high degree of attention to detail in a logistically intensive situation, Funk said.
No one is better suited for the deputy commanding officer for support position than Muth, Funk said.
Muth, a 1986 Norwich University, Northfield, Vt., graduate, said he and his wife, Leslie, were honored to be back in the flint hills and at Fort Riley.
"One can't help but feel a sense of pride when entering this historic post and division to ponder on those who have come before," he said. "I remember I am once again a part of something greater than myself. I am once again a part of an incredible legacy. I am once again a Big Red One Soldier."
The Muths have two children.
Funk gave Miller a hard time for being a 1986 graduate of the University of Montana, an in-state rival of his alma mater, Montana State University, and continued the good-natured ribbing when he said Miller's former job as deputy commander of the Brigade Modernization Command at the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Bliss, Texas, prepared him for the role as division chief of staff.
"We're getting ready to execute that mission for the Army, so what he did was bring his headaches from Fort Bliss to Riley," Funk said with a smile. "But that's alright. He's the chief, he's got to solve them anyway, so it's awesome."
Before taking on the brigade modernization job, Miller commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, from December 2007 to May 2011. The brigade had the Global Response Force mission for one year and deployed to Baghdad in 2009, as the mission there transformed from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn.
"I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity you gave me to come here and be able to proudly say, 'I am a Big Red One Soldier,'" Miller said to Funk.
Miller and his wife, Gina, have two children, one of whom is an Army military intelligence officer.
Funk said he looked forward to serving with the trio.
"If you haven't noticed, that's a world-class team I just introduced with all the right skills to bring this division into the future, reset it and get it ready for whatever the nation calls on it to do," Funk said to the crowd. "I've got to tell you, I look forward to working with each of you to make this the nation's first division and Fort Riley the best place to come home to."