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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Jan. 11, 2022

45th Field Artillery Brigade holds change of command ceremony

By Sgt. Reece Heck, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers with the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Field Artillery Brigade gathered for a change of command ceremony between Col. Jason Henry, outgoing commander, and Col. Thomas Gibson, incoming commander at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Mustang, Oklahoma, Jan. 8, 2022.

The change of command ceremony dually served as a retirement ceremony for Henry who served in the U.S. Army for 34 years. 

 “What a ride it has been,” Henry said addressing the crowd. “34 years is a long time, yet it seemed to go by in a flash. Today, I am achieving my final goal as I retire from the Oklahoma National Guard.” 

Henry began his military career in June 1987 when he enlisted as a cannon crewmember and, in 1993, earned his commission as a 2nd Lt. During his speech, Henry thanked family and friends for their unwavering love and support over the years. 

“You had it tougher than I could ever imagine,” he said. “Saying thank you seems sorely inadequate. I look forward to trying to make it up to you for years to come.” 

Henry has served as a platoon fire direction officer, platoon leader, battalion administrative officer, battalion fire direction officer, brigade fire direction officer, battalion executive officer, and as the director of plans, operations and training at Camp Gruber Training Center, near Braggs, Oklahoma.  

“To the Soldiers out there, some advice from a Soldier who went from a PV2 [private] to O-6 [colonel], come up with a goal while you’re in the National Guard,” he said. “It will make your time in the military that much more worthwhile.” 

Henry’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star and Humanitarian Service Medal.  His service was commemorated with the pinning of the Legion of Merit in recognition of his exceptionally meritorious conduct. 

Henry welcomed Gibson as the FAB’s new commander and commended him on his achievements and future endeavors.  

“Col. Gibson, welcome home,” Henry said. “I am envious of you in a way. You are coming back to a great organization. You and the brigade don’t need luck, so I will simply wish you only the best."

Gibson enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 1990 and earned his commission in 1993. In his more than 30 years of service, he has held several positions including battery commander, battalion operations and executive officer, 45th Field Artillery Brigade executive officer, and battalion commander for the 271st Brigade Support Battalion.

“Col. Henry is a great leader and an even better person. He is a calming force in a very dynamic and sometimes crazy world,” Gibson said. “And this is a great brigade with a long history of support for this state and this country. I am honored to have this opportunity.”
Video by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa
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