A sunny, breezy morning was the backdrop for Col. Thomas S. Rickard’s change-of-command ceremony where he assumed the reigns of leadership of the Fort Meade garrison from Col. Brian P. Foley on Aug. 4 at McGlachlin Parade Field.
Davis D. Tindoll, director of the Atlantic Region, Installation Management Command, presided over the 30-minute ceremony attended by about 200 people.
In his brief remarks after assuming command, Rickard acknowledged the “quiet professionals of Team Meade [who] support a powerful platform at the confluence of information, intelligence and cyber activities, providing combatant commanders ways to affect the enemy’s will to fight.”
Prior to arriving at Fort Meade, Rickard served for a year as the director of Information Operations for the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
“During the past year in Afghanistan, I saw firsthand the power that Fort Meade brings to the battlefield — truly amazing capabilities that definitely impact the enemy’s will to fight,” Rickard said. “We must remember the importance of what we do every day — sustain, support, defend — and be resilient in our efforts as conditions change.”
Foley, who served as garrison commander since August 2013, will serve as the chief of the Strategic Initiatives Group for the assistant Army chief of staff for the Installation Management Strategic Initiatives Group at the Pentagon.
Prior to the change of command, Tindoll presented Foley with the Legion of Merit in a brief ceremony at Constitution Park. Foley’s wife, Lee, was presented with the Commander’s Award for Public Service.
Dignitaries at the change of command included Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland’s 3rd District; Anne Arundel County Executive Steven R. Schuh; Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of Central Security Service; and Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region, Military District of Washington.
“For the last three years as garrison commander, Colonel Brian P. Foley has had a transformative impact on Fort Meade, helping to upgrade transportation infrastructure and modernize facilities across the installation, and importantly, helping to bolster the garrison’s leadership in cyber defense,” Sarbanes said after the event. “His vision and his leadership will be greatly missed.”
Sarbanes said he is confident that Rickard is “up to the task” as garrison commander.
“Colonel Rickard is a distinguished Army commander who brings a wealth of management and leadership experience to his new position. I look forward to seeing continued growth and prosperity at Fort Meade under his command.”
After the ceremony, Schuh credited Foley for working closely with county and local business leaders to “make Fort Meade an integral part of our county and culture. We will miss his steady leadership.
“My administration looks forward to working with Colonel Rickard to ensure this effective, close partnership will continue to drive our economy and make our county stronger for working families.”
Guests were greeted with patriotic music performed by the U.S. Army Field Band. Sgt. 1st Class Randall Wight, a vocalist with the Field Band, sang the national anthem. Garrison Chaplain (Col.) Warren R. Kirby gave the invocation.
Tindoll welcomed Rickard and his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter Sarah to the garrison and the IMCOM Atlantic Region.
“Tom, I am confident that with your demonstrated leadership, you will build on the successes of your predecessors,” Tindoll said. “The challenges are many, but I am confident you will bring new energy and excellence to the garrison and this installation.”
The recipient of three Bronze Star Medals, Rickard was commissioned in 1990 as an infantry officer through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
His first assignment was with the 1-520nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky., serving successively as a rifle platoon leader, weapons platoon leader, scout platoon leader and assistant operations officer.
In 1995, Rickard served in the 1-506th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Greaves in Korea as battalion logistics officer and rifle company commander. Afterward, he taught tactics and leadership at the University of North Alabama and later served as an observer/controller and maneuver planner at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., from 2000-2002.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff College in 2003, Rickard returned to Korea. The following year, he relocated to Fort Lewis, Wash., and deployed to Mosul in Iraq. In 2006, he deployed with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment to Rose Barracks, Germany, and served as the squadron executive officer for 3rd Squadron.
After rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, Rickard served during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007 to 2009 as the regimental rear detachment commander of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. In 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan for one year and later graduated from the Senior Service College at the Joint Advanced Warfighting School in Norfolk, Va.
Before deploying again to Afghanistan in July 2015, Rickard served as the chief of plans for the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla.
In his speech, Tindoll praised Foley for his service and described the colonel as “capable, innovative and motivated” in handling the challenges of leading a garrison.
“During his command, Colonel Foley proved himself through a period of reorganizations, constrained funding and restricted hiring,” Tindoll said. “Throughout, he demonstrated unwavering support to the senior commander and the mission of Fort Meade.
“He has postured the garrison for continued success, setting a path to become an efficient, responsive and flexible organization capable of accomplishing its mission now and in the future.”
Tindoll also cited Foley’s skill at running the third largest Army installation.
“[Foley] ensured that every aspect of the garrison operations performed at peak capability,” he said. “Despite persistent issues, he has kept Soldier, civilian and family well-being at the forefront of decisions related to safety, security and professional development.”
In his remarks, Foley, a Signal Corps officer, joked that although Rickard is an “infantry guy,” he is the best pick for garrison commander.
“The Army seems to always select the right guy at the right time with the right skills needed to move an organization forward,” Foley said. “And Tom’s recent return from a year serving as director of Information Operations for USFOR-A gives him the ability to speak with authority on how the cyber warriors right here at Fort Meade are saving countless lives.
“So Tom, as I’ve gotten to know you over the past year, and in particular over the past two weeks, I could not possibly have become more satisfied in the knowledge that this garrison is in good hands.”