MANNHEIM — The Soldiers of the 18th Military Police Brigade said their farewells to both their commander and command sergeant major during a dual Change of Command and Change of Responsibility ceremony March 13 at the Sports Arena on Benjamin Franklin Village.
The ceremony was attended by not only the Soldiers of each of the brigade’s four battalions, but many distinguished guests, German polizei and members of the Mannheim community.
The ceremony also included the participation of Feldjäger battalions 452 and 251, who the brigade works closely with.
Col. Mark S. Spindler, the outgoing commander, transferred command to Col. Thomas P. Evans. Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard C. McPherson, the outgoing command sergeant major, passed responsibility on to Command Sgt. Maj. Brenda K. Curfman.
Maj. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding
general, spoke on behalf of the outgoing command group during the ceremony.
Major General Fontaine spoke fondly of the command team and the dedication they have shown to the unit, as well as the support and dedication their spouses and families have given to the unit, its Soldiers, their families and the local community.
Major General Fontaine gave credit to the Soldiers of the brigade and the job they have done under the leadership of Colonel Spindler and Command Sergeant Major McPherson and will continue to do under Colonel Evans and Command Sergeant Major Curfman.
Major General Fontaine said that, in addition to recognizing the outgoing and the incoming leaders during the ceremony, he wanted to “recognize the accomplishments of these fine troopers from the 18th MP Brigade.”
As the most highly decorated military police unit in the U.S. Army, the success of the brigade is easily recognized.
Major General Fontaine gave credit for this success to the Soldiers as much as to their leadership.
“These troopers live by the warrior ethos and do what is right,” he said. “It is their dedication, their service to our nation and their sacrifice that enables this unit to achieve success in everything it does.”
Because it is hard for any commander to leave his or her unit, it is understandable why Colonel Spindler may have had trouble walking away from what he referred to as “the most professionally rewarding and enriching experience of my life.”
Colonel Spindler has served with the 18th MP Bde. three times in his career; he felt his most recent tenure with the unit was memorable in many aspects.
“Not for any particular accomplishment or any real event, but because of the people – the extraordinary military and civilian personnel and family members we lived and served with – that has made this short time together one of great joy and happiness,” he said.
Colonel Spindler is headed to the Senior Leaders Division at Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va., for his next assignment.
Colonel Spinlder could not leave, however, without speaking on behalf of his “battle buddy,” Command Sergeant Major McPherson.
Colonel Spindler said Command Sergeant Major McPherson is “the strongest advocate for our troops and a wonderful teammate,” adding he could not have done it without him.
Command Sergeant Major McPherson is headed to the Program Executive Office Soldier in Natick, Mass., where Colonel Spindler believes he will “once again take care of Soldiers, preparing them for going into the fight – a fitting place for a great warrior.”
When Colonel Evans gave his speech as the new commander of the brigade, he addressed the crowd and said that he felt “honored and humbled to stand before them as Vigilant 6. It is a tremendous privilege.”
Colonel Evans assumes command with Command Sergeant Major Curfman, who is moving to the brigade after acting as the command sergeant major for the 95th Military Police Battalion, also based in Mannheim.
“The 18th has a reputation for setting the standard and accomplishing the mission,” Colonel Evans said, adding that, along with Command Sergeant Major Curfman, he plans to tirelessly maintain that high standard.