Rangers get new commander


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice
http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/March/100325-02.html

FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, March 25, 2010) – The change of command for the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment took place beneath the moss-draped trees of Forsyth Park at 4 p.m. on Mar. 18.

Dignitaries, guests and those passing by watched as outgoing commander, Col. Brian Mennes, turned over his command to Lt. Col. Michael Foster during the colorful ceremony.

Col. Mennes has deployed twice since taking command of the battalion on July 1, 2008. He said that leaving his family of Rangers was a bittersweet transition for he and his wife and children.

“This is the best job in the world in one of the best towns in the world,” he said. He also acknowledged great things ahead in his new job as a brigade commander at Fort Bragg.

“It’s a great day to move forward,” he said. But it’s been a joy to serve with these men. They define what selfless service looks like. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend with them.”

Now the opportunity to spend time with the Rangers belongs to the battalion’s current commander, Lt. Col. Michael Foster.

“I’ve looked forward to this command; it feels great to be here,” said the new commander, about living and serving in the Savannah area and about living near his family who is located in Stone Mountain.

Most recently, Lt. Col. Foster served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg as the commander of the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regimen. Prior to that, he served in the Joint Special Operations Command directing a Joint Interagency Task Force.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” he said about Savannah. I’ve only been here one week and community leaders have already contacted me, welcoming me here.”

Other leaders at Hunter Army Airfield, where the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment is based were on-hand at Forsyth Park to welcome Lt. Col. Foster to the community.
“We’re a family,” said Keepers, the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment commander, whose aviators work closely with the Rangers. “Our Family includes special operations units and the entire Hunter community. We all work together jointly to accomplish the mission.”


Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment passes 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment’s colors to incoming battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Foster as outgoing commander, Col. Brian Mennes and Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, retired Gen. Buck Kernan look on. (Photo by Tracy Bailey, 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs)
http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/March/100325-01.html

FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, March 25, 2010) – The 75th Ranger Regiment witnessed a change in senior enlisted leadership March 22.

Regimental Command Sergeant Major James C. Hardy relinquished responsibility to Command Sergeant Major Rick Merritt in a ceremony held at the Ranger Memorial.

The 1863 edition of the U.S. Army’s Officer Guide states, “Enlisted men are stupid, but extremely cunning and sly, and bear considerable watching.”

“What a long way we have come,” said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment. “Today, they are revered as the backbone of the Army and the U.S. Army NCO Corps is the envy of the world’s armies.”

The relationship between Hardy and Kurilla began more than 18 years ago, when then 1st Lt.Kurilla was a Rifle Platoon Leader with 3rd Ranger Battalion and one of his squad leaders was Staff Sgt. Chris Hardy.

“I remember 18 years ago jumping into Scotland, Panama and England with my Ranger Platoon, watching Chris Hardy in action,” said Kurilla. “Leader, trainer, standard bearer, and team builder—everything you wanted in a squad leader. It didn’t change last year on the battlefields of Afghanistan, the incredible voice of wisdom coupled with 24 years of experience.”

Hardy reflected on his service to the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Army.

“I have had the opportunity to walk among this generation’s greatest Americans, heroes if you will, but they are humble and do not consider themselves as such,” said Hardy. “The Rangers do it not for themselves, but for each other and this great nation, in hopes that one day the world will be a better place and our children and grandchildren will not have to endure the hardships and sacrifice as they have.”

Hardy’s next assignment is the Command Sergeant Major of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Ga.

“There is no better man to lead the transformational changes of the Maneuver Center of Excellence,” said Kurilla. “There is no better man to coach, teach and mentor the leadership that will train the 145,000 soldiers that transit Fort Benning on an annual basis.”

The incoming Command Sergeant Major is no stranger to the 75th Ranger Regiment either, having served in every capacity from rifleman to Command Sergeant Major of the Regimental Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. And the relationship between Merritt and Kurilla also goes back a long ways; 19 years to be exact.

Merritt is honored to be selected to hold the top enlisted position within the 75th Ranger Regiment.

With his trademark modesty, Merritt spoke these simple words upon his assumption of responsibility, “With a war ongoing it is with the upmost honor, that I serve you. Rangers, we are a nation and Regiment at war and I expect much from you. In return, you can expect me to give you 100 percent and then some.”
Of his incoming Command Sergeant Major, Kurilla had this to say, “Rick Merritt’s breadth and depth of knowledge is unmatched, he is the consummate Ranger, and will bring the same level of experience and energy to the Regiment Command Sergeant Major position; he is exactly the right leader to take the Regiment to the next level.”


Col. Michael E. Kurilla, Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment passes the Regimental colors to incoming Regimental Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Major Rick Merritt, March 22. (Photo by Tracy Bailey, 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs)
How many people remember seeing SGM Merritt running barefoot on post? Legend has it, he would road march that way as well.
SGM Merrit is as good as they get. A real leader, always looking out for the boys. He still drives the same beat up old pickup too.