Bell Fort Campbell's new garrison commander

The Garrison Change of Command ceremony at the Wilson Theater, Fort Campbell Ky. on July 11, 2019. U.S. Army Photo by Sam Shore

FORT CAMPBELL -- Colonel Joseph P. Kuchan relinquished command of United States Army Garrison Fort Campbell to Col. Jeremy D. Bell Thursday during a Change of Command ceremony at Wilson Theater.

Bell, Fort Campbell garrison commander, said command is a privilege.

"It's an absolute honor to be with you all today and to be the newest member of Fort Campbell garrison command," Bell said, addressing the crowd of people who attended the ceremony.

During the ceremony, Kuchan's wife, Sarah, was presented with a dozen red roses. The red roses signify the strength, love and endurance she has shared with the garrison over the past two years. Then, Bell's wife, Karen, was presented with a dozen yellow roses to signify a new beginning. Bell's daughter, Maddison, was given a single yellow rose and his son, Joshua, was given a coin.

Brenda Lee McCullough, director of Installation Management Command-Readiness, said it was a privilege to attend the ceremony and "salute an outstanding garrison commander and his family for a job well done."

"Joe, I know this is a day of mixed emotions for you and (Sarah). Command is one of the most awesome responsibilities one can experience, and I am sure that you want that experience to continue," McCullough said. "However, the day to give the guide on to your replacement is here and you are heading into a new chapter of your lives. I am certain new opportunities and exciting challenges will follow."

Kuchan's next assignment will take him to The United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

Following the ceremony, Kuchan addressed the crowd and expressed his gratitude to Fort Campbell's workforce and leadership, his peers, and all the communities surrounding the installation.

"Jeremy, you get to work with a fantastic workforce and a welcoming community doing rewarding work that really touches each part of Fort Campbell every day," Kuchan said. "You and Karen are absolutely going to love it. Good luck. Air Assault Support and Defend. Guardian 6 out."

Awards

Prior to the ceremony, Kuchan and Sarah were recognized during an award ceremony facilitated by Maj. Gen. Brian E. Winski, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell.

"One thing that has always been consistent about (Kuchan) is that everything he does is incredibly thought through and thoughtful. Every decision he makes and every issue he weighs in on is through the lens and eye of the warfighter," Winski said. "The way he operates and the relationships he sustains with all of the units here is really second-to-none, so on behalf of a grateful Army we are going to present you with the Legion of Merit."

The Legion of Merit is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

The Legion of Merit was awarded because Kuchan demonstrated inspired leadership and passion for service to the Army's soldiers, family members, and the civilian workforce while leading one of the Army's largest and most complex garrisons, according to the orders the ceremony's emcee read.

"His efforts have resulted in significant and lasting improvements to the readiness of units assigned to Fort Campbell, the installation's infrastructure and the service delivery. Kuchan has earned the respect of his superiors, peers, workforce and those he supports," according to the orders. "His distinguished accomplishments and selfless service have brought great credit upon him, the Installation Management Command and the United States Army.

Sarah Kuchan was awarded for her dedicated to volunteer service while serving the Fort Campbell garrison.

Sarah Kuchan provided unparalleled volunteer service and contributions to Fort Campbell and the surrounding communities, according to orders read by the emcee.

"Her continued commitment and loyalty to the Army and dedication to helping soldiers and their families has distinguished her as an inspired servant leader who has improved the Army's home, according to the orders. "Her exemplary contributions and sacrifices are in keeping with the finest traditions of public service and reflect great credit upon her, the entire Fort Campbell community and the United States Army."

Reach Mari-Alice Jasper at 270-887-3262 or mjasper@kentuckynewera.com.

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