Our Army Life: Pete’s Change of Command Ceremony

Today marked the beginning of Pete’s second command in the Army, complete with a lovely change of command ceremony. If you’re like me, and unfamiliar with military traditions, here’s some information about the history and significance of “passing the guidon” (which is what happens at the ceremony — the unit’s guidon is passed from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander).

The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that is rich with symbolism and heritage dating back to medieval times. Soldiers often carried staffs or standards into battle that identified them as a unit. Throughout military history, unit colors have marked the position of the Commander on the battlefield and served as a rallying point. While attacking or rallying on the battlefield, Soldiers would follow the guidons of their leader, most often found at the forward edge of the battle.

From this practical beginning, the guidon quickly represented the very heart and lineage of the unit: the Soldiers who had fought bravely and died beneath it. Carried by only the bravest combat-tested veterans, the colors were never allowed to fall as such dishonor could destroy a unit in battle. Colors have long since lost their tactical significance, but not their historical importance. Our modern Army of today continues to take the greatest pains to protect its colors from capture and desecration. All others in the organization might perish, but the unit guidon lives on forever. ~From the ceremony program

This was the first time I had attended a ceremony like this, and as the incoming commander’s wife, I was presented with gorgeous yellow roses. Pete’s very excited about taking command again, and his only request to me this week was that I get through the ceremony without going into labor. As luck would have it, Pete got his wish; we made it through the ceremony without my water breaking.

Army Change of Command

Army Change of Command

Army Change of Command

Army Change of Command

As you can see, he is very happy to embark on this new position. Since he’s already been a commander, he feels pretty good about what’s to come and making his mark within the battery. I’m very proud of him and can’t wait for what’s to come! (And, the beautiful and fragrant leis they give in Hawaii look and smell heavenly!)

Army Change of Command

Army Change of Command

Image credits: Jet Set With Mary

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