JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
U.S. Army Soldiers and civilians from the 92nd Engineer Battalion gathered at the Anderson Field House pool to welcome the new 74th Eng. Dive Detachment, 92nd Eng. Btn. commander during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 25, 2019.
Unlike most change of command ceremonies, this one had a twist – a majority of the ceremony was held under water. A formation of 13 Soldiers was arranged underwater while more than 30 additional Soldiers and civilians stood outside of the pool.
Once the formation was fully submerged at the bottom of the pool, U.S. Army Capt. Barrett LeHardy, 74th Eng. Dive Det., 92nd Eng. Btn., outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Perry Stiemke, 92nd Eng. Btn. commander, and Capt. Maxwell McDonnell, 74th Eng. Dive Det., 92nd Eng. Btn., incoming commander, donned their diving gear and jumped in.
The guidon was passed from LeHardy to Stiemke and lastly to McDonnell, signifying the change in leadership, before being returned to the formation. Once passed, the leadership exited the water to give their final remarks.
“As I trade my boots in for fins, I look forward to being challenged by and learning from all of you,” McDonnell said. “Though I did not grow up in the Army dive field, I am eternally grateful for having found my way here. There is nowhere else in the Army I would rather be.”
Prior to taking command, Mcdonnell served as the assistant to the commanding general of the South Pacific Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
During the ceremony, LeHardy welcomed McDonnell and thanked the unit for their support during his command.
“One of the proudest moments of my life was knowing that I was about to change the course of my Army career; at least for the 1,989 days, until this point in time,” said LeHardy.
LeHardy will continue his career as the observer and controller of the Engineer Sidewinder Team at Fort Irwin National Training Center, California.