FORT CHAFFEE (KFSM) -- A change-of-command ceremony at Fort Chaffee marked the beginning of new leadership for the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade with the Arkansas National Guard.
Lt. Col. Johnny Teegardin took over as the new commander Sunday (Oct. 4), after Col. Gregrey Bacon has been overseeing the brigade for the past year.
“My whole task is to take care of them and make sure that we step up to the next level and that we maintain our legitimacy in United States Army,” Teegardin said after the ceremony.
He’s no stranger to the soldiers – Teegardin joined the brigade in 1990. He said he left for about three years to go to Little Rock, where he was an Operations Branch Chief.
"It does feel like home. I know the troops here. I know the soldiers, I know the officers,” Teegardin said.
Outgoing Commander Col. Gregrey Bacon said he started with the brigade in June of 1990, the same year Teegardin arrived.
“Col. Teegardin and I are good friends,” Bacon said.
They each have 25 years of experience with the brigade and lately, Bacon has been showing the new commander a few things he's learned while doing the job for the past year.
“We've spent some time together over the last two months in a transition period,” Bacon said.
He said the transition should be seamless.
"The soldiers won't see a change. They’ll just have a new leader, but the same philosophies will apply,” Bacon said. “And I understand Johnny will have his own unique leadership styles, but he has the heart of this brigade in his heart and so he'll continue those same things."
Teegardin said while leadership is important, the success of the brigade depends on individual soldiers.
“I cannot do the job by myself,” Teegardin said. “I recognize that I’ve got thousands of people out there that can sit there and help me do what we need to do. And it takes every individual wanting to get it done.”
Teegardin is now responsible for the brigade, which is headquartered in Fayetteville and includes more than 1,000 soldiers. He also works as a resident engineer for roadway construction for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Bacon said he has also been the Army Chief of Staff in Arkansas for more than four years, and received a certificate of eligibility for promotion to brigadier general. He said he thinks sometime next spring he will be promoted.
The 142nd Field Artillery Brigade served in every major U.S. conflict since WWI, except Vietnam.