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Howard assumes command of Spartans

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Sgt. Marcus Butler
4th BCT, 25th ID PAO

4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, incoming commander Col. Michael Howard receives the brigade colors from Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Layfield, United States Army Alaska commander, July 11 during the Spartan Brigade’s assumption of command ceremony July 11 on Pershing Field at Fort Richardson.The command position for the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, was officially solidified during an assumption of command ceremony July 11 on Pershing Field at Fort Richardson.

Col. Michael Howard assumed command of the brigade from interim commander Lt. Col. Stephen Hughes in a Circle of Honor in which key representatives of the six battalions from the Spartan Brigade stood in formation.

“I am so proud and excited to be here in Alaska and to be in the position to command such an outstanding unit,” Howard said.

Howard, a recent graduate of the National War College, has experienced multiple combat tours as a part of Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait-Iraq, contingency operations in Bosnia and to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, 2003 and 2006.

“I know that you and your wife, Esther, will do a fantastic job within the brigade and in the community,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Layfield, United States Army Alaska commander. “We are honored to have you on our team.”

With the 4-25th BCT now back on the road to war, Howard has grasped the reigns and said he has nothing but high expectations for the future of the brigade.

Howard’s previous command positions include serving as commander of 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and commander of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. He also served as the assistant operations officer and the Headquarters, Headquarters Company commander, 82nd Airborne Division.

With the final piece of the puzzle in place for Fort Richardson’s airborne brigade, the history of the Spartans will begin a new chapter during its third year of existence.

“I am filled with excitement, and I look forward to working with each and every commander to build my knowledge so that I may be the best commander I can be,” Howard said.

Howard’s civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science in biology from Mercer University, Macon, Ga., in June 1986. His military education includes the Infantry Officer’s Basic and Advance courses, Combined Armed Services Staff School and the Command and General Staff College.

Howard has earned the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two OLC, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with OLC, the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Award, the Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge with star and Master Parachutist Wings.