“Changes of responsibility give us a chance to recognize the accomplishments of not only the individual but also of the organization,” said Col. Mark Huhtanen, 193rd Infantry Brigade commander, during his unit’s change of responsibility ceremony May 3. “While we are sad to see those that have made such an impact on our organizations go, it does allow us to reflect and set goals for the future.”
Huhtanen presided over the ceremony held on Victory Field, where Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Wirth assumed responsibility for the brigade from Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Butler.
The brigade has a long and distinguished history starting in 1922. It played an important role in the battle of the Ruhr pocket during World War II, and during the invasion of Panama in 1989. The unit started training on Fort Jackson in January 2007.
While he bid farewell to Butler, who he called a “team player” who gave his all, Huhtanen welcomed Wirth into the brigade’s leadership team.
“As it saddens me to see Sgt. Maj. and (his wife) Jamie Butler go, the Army has made sure we will not be lost,” Huhtanen said during the ceremony. Wirth is no stranger to the brigade, he said noting he comes as a “proven leader.”
Wirth was the senior enlisted leader for 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment before taking the brigade’s top enlisted position. “He brings with him his experiences from Fort Benning (Georgia) and Fort Riley (Kansas). He has multiple deployments and a quiet professionalism that makes me realize we are good hands.”
“Command Sgt. Maj. Wirth, congrats, I couldn’t have hoped for a better man to give the reins to,” he said to his successor during the ceremony. “You and Col. Huhtanen will take the brigade to the next level.”
Wirth said he was ready for the challenge.
“I understand the challenges, demands, sacrifices or rewards that come with this important mission,” said the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota native during the ceremony. “All I ask of you is to continue to uphold the standards and train America’s most precious resource. I’m excited to be part of the bayonet family and look forward to working for all of you.”
Butler, who has seen a lot on Fort Jackson including the COVID-19 pandemic and “flawlessly” executing the Victory Block Leave holiday push, said in his farewell remarks that he will have fond memories of his time with the brigade and Fort Jackson.
“I’ve never seen a group of senior (noncommissioned officers) put aside personal agendas, and so willingly cooperate to make the entire post better” like they did on Fort Jackson, he said. “It is truly unique.”