Texas' 36th Infantry Division holds change of command, responsibility

The 36th Infantry Division held a change of command ceremony on Saturday, where Maj. Gen. Patrick "Pat" Hamilton, commander of the 36th Infantry Division will relinquish command of the Division to Maj. Gen. Charles K. Aris.

The official change of command is the traditional passing of the colors from the outgoing to the incoming commander symbolically passing responsibility for, and authority over, the unit to the new commander.

"It's been an absolute honor of a lifetime to command this unit," said Hamilton.

Hamiliton relinquished command of the Division to Aris. "I pledge to you and all the soldiers here, both present and deployed, my best efforts to accomplish all the missions and care for our citizen soldiers." Aris said. 

Aris said the 36th Infantry Division has high standards and a high bar set by his predecessors. But he is ready for his new role and up to the challenge. "So it's a lot of responsibility, but we are up to the challenge," he said. "I just think you have your time in history and it's a great honor to serve with these great men and women." 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivered the keynote address. He said while there is a change in leadership, the mission of the National Guard is set to stay the same. 

"There may have been a change in leaders like we witnessed here today, but we all must comprehend that the mission remains the same," Abbott said. 

From COVID-19 to the crisis at the border, Abbott said the service of these troops is paramount. 

"This ceremony is also a reminder of the essential role that the Texas National Guard plays in both defending freedom overseas and as well as protecting Texas at home," he said. 

A change of command is a military ritual that denotes a transfer of authority and responsibility for a command. The passing of colors from the present command to the incoming command ensures that the unit and its soldier’s under-no-circumstances are without official leadership. This act alone bonds the new leadership together enforcing a continuance of loyalty and trust to the unit’s soldiers.

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