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Press Release
March 08, 2008
Oregon's 41st Brigade welcomes new commander
Story by Spc. Cory Grogan, 41st BCT Public Affairs Office
Photos by Spc. Nicholas Wood, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Salem, Ore. - A change of command ceremony for the Oregon Army National Guard's renowned 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team took place at the Salem 17th Street Armory Auditorium on March 8 to render honors for the outstanding work of Col. David Enyeart while welcoming the highly qualified Col. Daniel Hokanson as its new commander.

Soldiers from the six Battalions of the 41st Brigade representing approximately 3500 troops looked on with admiration during the important ceremony as the 41st prepares for its scheduled deployment cycle.

The deployment will be the largest of the Oregon Army National Guard since duty in World War II.

During the change of command speech Col. Enyeart acknowledged that three days into joining the 41st Brigade his daughter was born. Mentioning that today was his daughter's 26th birthday, Enyeart explained, "In these 26 years I raised a child and the Brigade raised a leader."

The Adj. Gen. of Oregon, Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees spoke during the ceremony and said that since Enyeart became a commissioned officer in 1985, after enlisting in 1982, he had been with the 41st every day since.

Enyeart added that the "sense of pride and accomplishment I have for the Brigade cannot easily be put into words." Enyeart, who served twice as the Deputy Cmdr. of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in 2004-05 and 2005-06 has witnessed many changes in the brigade's history.

That sentiment was clearly shared at the ceremony by some of those who have worked under Enyeart. Warrant Officer Donna P. Dempsey worked with Enyeart in Afghanistan and said that she would follow him anywhere because he made sure everything was done properly with concern for the welfare of Soldiers always in mind. "He often came by, asked questions, and sought the information from experts in their field before he made decisions," added Dempsey.

Enyeart said that he grew up in the Brigade for half of his life, and that he will miss the people the most.

Dempsey mentioned that working with Enyneart was such a wonderful experience that it was hard to see him leave because she looked forward to serving on another deployment with him.

Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk Conley said that the change is bittersweet because the Brigade is losing a man with 26 years of institutional knowledge and gaining another who is very highly qualified to lead "a top notch unit, the best in the country." He attributed this to Enyeart's experience leading elements of the Brigade through numerous successful deployments and the incoming commander's depth of troop leadership.

Col. Hokanson assumed command of the brigade with tremendous operational and homeland security experience. With service in Operations Just Cause and Enduring Freedom, as well as experience in leading one of the best search and rescue programs in the nation. After Afghanistan, he followed Enyeart's role as the brigade deputy commanding officer, or second in command.

Hokanson spoke of his new role with pride and confidence. "Many of the sons and daughters before us today have answered our Nation's call, and most will be called upon again. They will be the next generation in the legendary reputation established by soldiers of the 41st Division and Brigade who served our state and nation in past conflicts and in times of need," said Hokanson.

The 41st BCT is tentatively scheduled to deploy in spring of 2009.
Contact Info:
For media inquiries, please contact Maj. Arnold Strong, Brigade Public Affairs Officer, at 503.428.0579 or arnold.strong@or.ngb.army.mil.