Fort McCoy News Aug. 11, 2017

New commander assumes leadership of 181st

Soldiers with the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade participate in a change of command ceremony for the brigade July 28 at Fort McCoy. Col. James M. “Brooks” Schultze became the new commander.
Col. James. M. "Brooks" Schultze, commander of the 181st Multi-
Functional Training Brigade, receives the unit flag from Maj. Gen. Erik C.
Peterson, commander of 1st Army Division West, to assume command of
the brigade July 28 at Fort McCoy.



Col. James. M. “Brooks” Schultze, Maj. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, and Col. John R. Cook stand with the 181st’s formation.
Col. James. M. "Brooks" Schultze, Maj. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, and Col.
John R. Cook stand with the 181st's formation.



Col. James. M. “Brooks” Schultze provides his first speech as the commander of the brigade.
Col. James. M. "Brooks" Schultze provides his first speech as the
commander of the brigade.

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Col. James M. "Brooks" Schultze is the new commander of the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade.

During a change of command ceremony July 28 at Fort McCoy's Parade Field No. 1, Schultze assumed command from Col. John R. Cook. Schultze comes to Fort McCoy after completing duty at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute at the U.S. Army War College.

Maj. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, commanding general of 1st Army Division West at Fort Hood, Texas, was the presiding officer for the ceremony. Colt praised Cook for his leadership.

"To say this brigade has been doing some heavy lifting over the last two years of Col. John Cook's command would be an understatement," Peterson said. "Our nation's and Army's leadership have placed an increased emphasis on credible military readiness to include an increased alliance with our Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

"The simple fact is the Army cannot accomplish its increasingly complex global mission without our reserve-component teammates," Peterson said. "And this creates an increased demand on units like the 181st and their vital mission of helping build reserve-component readiness. For two intensive years, the Soldiers of the 181st have been out there partnering with units, coaching, mentoring, supporting, and substantially enhancing overall combat readiness."

Peterson said the 181st facilitated seven large-scale exercises, training more than 35,000 Soldiers from 2015-17, which is "an extraordinary number of Soldiers that were positively impacted by the experiences and professionalism of the 181st."

"During his command tenure, Col. John Cook focused on realistic combat-focused training," Peterson said. "He championed the movement from FOB (forward operating base)-based daylight training operations to the tactical operational assembly areas and 24-hour operations in austere environments.

"Col. Cook (also) led the brigade during the implementation of Operation Bold Shift, which transformed the 181st from a combat-arms centric training support brigade to a combat support/combat service support-centric multifunctional training brigade," the major general said. "Bold Shift often meant that our brigades were asked to do more with less and to not skip a beat, given the weight of substantial change."

In his departing comments, Cook said he appreciated the opportunity to lead the "Eagle Brigade."

"I've had a blast for two years as we executed our mission to build collective readiness in our Army Reserve teammates, so thank you very much," Cook said. "Over the last two years I've had the pleasure of serving with 18 different battalion commanders and 13 different command sergeant majors during two years — all of whom are very talented. But I will tell you it's the progress made by our observer-coach/trainers (OC/Ts) that I am most proud of as I reflect on the 181st Eagle Brigade's accomplishments.

"Without (the OC/Ts') unwavering commitment to mission and professionalism in preparing units for the next war, we would achieve far less in training outcomes," Cook said. "Thank you to the members of the Eagle Brigade and to our training partners who help prepare units for that next deployment."

Peterson welcomed Schultze to his new command position.

"Col. Brooks Schultze — the command is yours," Peterson said. "The Eagle Brigade will benefit greatly from your leadership. You join us with a strong foundation of diverse, current, and relevant experience; distinguished combat leadership; and an absolutely exceptional professional reputation."

"I have the complete confidence that the 181st is not going to miss a beat and that you will continue to build on and improve the capabilities of this absolutely magnificent team," Peterson said. "Brooks, let me formally welcome you … to the Division West and the 1st Army team. We are absolutely thrilled to have you on board."

Schultze said he is proud to join the 1st Army's Division-West Team and thankful to become the new commander and that he looks forward to working with all the training partners, including the Fort McCoy Garrison team, and much more.

"Thank you Gen. Peterson for allowing Brenda and I to become a part of the Division West team," Schultze said. "John — you have given us a solid foundation to begin this next chapter. We're looking forward to it."

"To the Soldiers and civilians of the Eagle Brigade, thank you for your outstanding achievement in training and assisting our Total Army partners," Schultze said. "You've operationalized the Army's Total Force policy, and I look forward to working with you in the days and months ahead in this critically important mission."

The 181st has been a tenant organization at Fort McCoy since 2006.

Col. John R. Cook, former 181st commander, thanks members of the brigade during his remarks at the change of command ceremony.
Col. John R. Cook, former 181st commander, thanks members of the brigade
during his remarks at the change of command ceremony.



Maj. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, commander of 1st Army Division West, provides remarks during the ceremony.
Maj. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, commander of 1st Army Division West, provides
remarks during the ceremony
.


Soldiers with the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade participate in a change of command ceremony for the brigade July 28, 2017, at Fort McCoy.
Soldiers with the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade participate in a
change of command ceremony for the brigade July 28 at Fort McCoy.