In a ceremony that drew a Maryland senator and congressman, Col. Erich C. Spragg assumed command of the Fort Meade garrison from Col. Tom Rickard.
Soldiers, family members, colleagues and government officials filled Club Meade on Aug. 3 to honor Rickard and Spragg.
Garrison commander since Aug. 4, 2016, Rickard will now serve at U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade.
Davis D. Tindoll Jr., director of the Installation Management Command Sustainment Directorate, was the reviewing officer.
Ceremonial music was provided by the U.S. Army Field Band for the posting of the colors and national anthem.
In his remarks during the hour-long ceremony, Spragg commented on the “3 C’s” needed for a successful team.
“The Army seeks leaders that demonstrate the 3 C’s: competence, commitment and character,” said Spragg, 46.
He then directed his speech to his family.
“While the Army has provided me the tools and opportunities to grow … it is you that has shaped me in terms of character,” he said.
As garrison commander, Spragg will oversee Fort Meade, the second largest Army installation by population and Maryland’s largest single employer with a workforce of 56,000 people, 119 tenant organizations and about 8,000 residents.
Before the ceremony, Cardin emphasized Fort Meade is “critically important” to Maryland and the United States.
“(Fort Meade) is a huge part of the Maryland economy,” he said. “Team Meade is very much interested in maintaining national security and (its) economic impact.”
Cardin also commented on the difficulty of the garrison commander position.
“When you have to deal with things such as the allocation of space, dealing with personnel issues, dealing with the politics of the different tenants, it is not easy,” he said.
During the ceremony, Cardin praised Rickard for his service and recognized the transfer of authority.
“(I’m here) to say thank you to Colonel Rickard,” he said. “He’s done a great job.
“In many cases, you have a commanding officer who has a higher rank than Colonel Rickard. Yet Colonel Rickard, in some respects, controls that person’s decision-making. It’s not easy. He’s done it with great finesse and minimal amount of challenges.”
Sarbanes also noted the installation’s important role in Maryland and in national security efforts.
“(The change of command) is a really important event for the Fort Meade community and for our state,” Sarbanes said after the ceremony. “(The installation) has become a critical part of the security infrastructure of our nation.”
Born in Michigan, Spragg has served 23 years as a military intelligence officer. Prior to accepting his newest assignment, Spragg was chief of the Knowledge and Analysis Section for the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps in Turkey 2016-17.
“Throughout the transition, I have been in awe of Colonel Rickard’s breadth and depth of knowledge,” Spragg said. “To say I have big shoes to fill is an understatement.”
Spragg also addressed the importance of teamwork and spoke about the garrison’s role in intelligence and cyber security.
“It is through (our soldiers’) combined efforts and continued support from our regional partners that our nation maintains a decisive advantage in the intelligence information,” he said.
Spragg also thanked his family for their continued support.
“To my wife, Heather, and our children — Elizabeth, Hannah, James Michael and Emma Cate — thank you for the selfless sacrifices you make for me and our Army as well as your constant love and support,” he said.
Before the ceremony, Rickard was awarded the Legion of Merit. His wife, Lisa, was presented with the Commander’s Award for Public Service.
“It’s bittersweet. But the nice thing is we’re staying for another position, so it’s really saying farewell to a position,” Lisa Rickard said before the ceremony.
She also recognized the military spouses on post for their service.
“(The award reflects) not just my efforts, but the whole community,” Lisa Rickard said. “We have a great group of spouses that make a difference in the area through their volunteering.”
Before giving his final remarks to Team Meade, Rickard reflected on his transition from the garrison.
“It’s exciting to have my family here and it’s exciting to be recognized, but it’s a little sad because I worked with some outstanding people,” he said before the ceremony.
“But the command is in great hands. Colonel Spragg is an awesome leader, and I think he’s going to be great for Fort Meade.”
Rickard spent the majority of his speech thanking his soldiers, family and the command for their support. To close, he wished the incoming commander luck and noted that the garrison has a successful future.
“Erich is a proven commander who will bring common sense, mature leadership and vision to the command,” Rickard said. “Erich, I know that the garrison will provide you with outstanding support as you lead them to greater accomplishments.”
Compiled by staff of the Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs office. For more information about what is happening on Fort Meade, visit www.ftmeade.army.mil and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ftmeade.