CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, who served most recently as International Security Assistance Force deputy chief of staff for operations in Afghanistan, took command of the 2nd Infantry Division during a ceremony replete with traditional music, pageantry, pomp and circumstance the morning of Oct. 21 at Indianhead Field on Camp Casey.
The 2nd Infantry Division holds a change of command ceremony Oct. 21 on Camp
Casey. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Robert Young, 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs.
The new Warrior Division commander succeeded Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, who departed the peninsula after nearly three and a half years with the Division and higher headquarters to serve as chief of staff for U.S. European Command.
Key United States Forces Korea, 8th U.S. Army and Republic of Korea Army as well as 2nd ID leaders and regional political and civic officials joined a large and enthusiastic crowd of Soldiers, Family members and well wishers amid cool, clear autumn weather for the event.
A ceremonial inspection of the troops, invocation and performance of the U.S. and Korean national anthems preceded the passing of the Division colors, which formally marked the change of command.
Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., the 8th Army commander, thanked distinguished guests, Korean leaders and Families, praised the Division and its outgoing commander, and noted the 2ID's role in the U.S.-ROK alliance.
"We have outstanding leaders like Major Generals John Morgan and Michael Tucker," Fil said. "We're 'Army Strong' because we have outstanding Soldiers like the Warriors of the 2nd ID and we're 'Army Strong' because we have outstanding Families supporting us, both here in Korea and back in the U.S."
"No one has done more to improve the Warrior Division's combat readiness than John Morgan," Fil said of the outgoing commander. "Through his steadfast leadership (he) has improved the Warrior Division's readiness, strengthened the ROK-U.S. alliance and helped to make Korea the assignment of choice."
The 8th Army leader also welcomed his newest subordinate commander to the fold.
"He brings a wealth of experience to the 2nd ID and I know he'll build on the great legacy of leadership here," Fil said. Directly addressing the incoming commander and his wife, he added that, "we're happy to have you here in Korea. We look forward to serving with you."
Morgan, honored in an awards presentation conducted prior to the ceremony, led the Warrior Division from November 2007 until the change of command. The outgoing commander paid tribute to the Korean alliance, his staff and Division Soldiers during his remarks. He also endorsed his successor in generous terms.
"Warriors," he said, addressing his Soldiers for the final time, "you couldn't be more fortunate in your senior leadership. Maj. Gen. Mike Tucker is a proven battlefield commander with a rare combination of tactical competence and strategic vision. He's served as a private, a drill sergeant, a lieutenant and a general officer. From Kaiserslautern to Kuwait, from Karbala to Kabul and, now, Korea, he's leads from the front. I can honestly say – and mean – you couldn't be in better hands."
In turn, Morgan offered his successor a ringing endorsement of the Soldiers he commanded until the ceremony.
"They're as loyal as they are lethal, as committed to the team and their leaders as to the fight," he said of Division Soldiers. "Lead them well, and I'm sure you will, and they'll follow you anywhere. They'll fight and win tonight if that's what you ask them. They'll take appropriate initiative and serve superbly even in the absence of orders.
"They can defeat armored columns and they can teach English classes to children," he continued. "They can deter aggression and they can build alliances. They can make friends and they can destroy enemies. I've had no higher honor in my career than to lead these Warrior Soldiers. You're getting Warriors who are confident, competent, committed and courageous. You're getting a team and a group of young men and women that are truly 'Second to None.'"
The incoming commander followed his predecessor to the podium. He thanked the assembled leaders, guests and friends of his Division for a warm welcome and pledged to build on the achievements of Warriors and previous commanders.
Tucker said he and his wife "are honored and humbled by the opportunity to be assigned to such a great Division, built on the tremendous achievements of so many distinguished Soldiers and predecessors who have fought for and led this magnificent organization. Your reputation far exceeds the shores of the peninsula and your unique partnership with the Republic of Korea Army is truly 'Second to None' as well."
"I am enormously proud to be selected to be your commander, a job which I accept with pride and humble resolve to serve each of you," the North Carolina native added. "You truly are 'Second to None.'"
The event concluded with a traditional pass in review, during which units marched past the command group as the Division band performed a rousing repertoire of patriotic airs. A reception honoring the incoming Warrior Division commander followed the change of command.
Tucker enlisted in the Army in 1972, serving as a cavalry scout with 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment in Erlangen, Germany. The incoming commander rose through the enlisted ranks to staff sergeant and served as a drill sergeant prior to earning his commission as an armor officer through officer's candidate school. The former private ultimately assumed leadership positions at every echelon from platoon to division. He served extensively in Europe, including a long and distinguished tenure with the 1st Armored Division. Prior to his deployment with ISAF, Tucker served as assistant surgeon general for warrior care transition, playing a key role in Army efforts to confront challenges in veterans' care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The incoming commander brings a wealth of combat and operational leadership experience to the Warrior Division. Tucker commanded a company during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and a brigade during Operation Iraqi Freedom in addition to his senior leadership during OEF. He also commanded a battalion during Intrinsic Action in Kuwait.
The incoming commander holds academic degrees from the University of Maryland, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and Shippensburg University. His military education includes tenures at a variety of institutions including the Armed Forces Staff College and U.S. Army War College.
Tucker's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters). The incoming commander earned the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge and the German Ranger Badge.