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Three-time Bronze Star honoree to lead Fort Meade

New Fort Meade commander has deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, earned three Bronze Stars

Col. Tom Rickard, an infantry officer who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and earned three Bronze Stars, will assume command of Fort Meade this week, officials said Tuesday.

Rickard will replace Col. Bryan P. Foley, who has served as installation commander since August 2013.

Rickard returned from his second deployment to Afghanistan in June. He spent a year as director of information operations for the Resolute Support Mission.

He has also served as chief of plans for U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., deputy commander to the commanding general at the Joint Readiness and Training Center and Fort Polk, La., and a battalion commander within the 10th Mountain Division (Light).

Rickard's awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Expert Infantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist's Badge, Air Assault Badge, Defense Superior Service Medal and three Bronze Stars.

Rickard holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, a master's degree in human resources from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in joint campaign planning and strategy from the National Defense University.

Foley's next duty station will be the Pentagon, where he will serve as chief of the Strategic Initiatives Group for the assistant chief of staff for the Installation Management Strategic Initiatives Group.

Rickard will be the 85th commander of Fort Meade. The change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for Thursday.

Fort Meade, which will be 100 years old next year, is the largest workplace in Maryland, with more than 54,000 employees, and the third largest Army installation in the continental United States.

It's home to the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Information School, and elements from all branches of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard.

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