Changing Command: Brown ends 22-year career, hands reins to Georgetown lieutenant colonel

Published on Saturday, 21 June 2014 12:58 - Written by By Emily Guevara eguevara@tylerpaper.com

Lt. Col. Randal Brown relinquished command of the 136th Military Police Battalion and retired from the Texas National Guard after a 22-year military career.

Brown, 45, who is All Saints Episcopal School’s head of school, served as battalion commander for almost two years, leading a unit that comprises about 680 men in four companies. Lt. Col. Norbert Flores, 48, of Georgetown, is the new commander. He serves full-time with the Texas Army National Guard.

Two ceremonies — one for the change of command and one for Brown’s retirement — took place at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Friday in Tyler.

Col. Lee Schnell thanked the families of both men for their sacrifice and support, which helped to make their careers possible.

He also thanked Brown for his service.

“Thank you for your time,” Schnell said. “Thank you for your talents, and thank you for your sacrifices to this battalion and its mission. And I know that we will continue to grow and benefit from your leadership for a long time to come.”

Schnell told Flores he had the utmost confidence in him and that he would take the battalion to new levels and new standards of excellence.

He told the soldiers that they are the backbone of the organization, “the force that breathes life into this organization.”

He said they have a mission to stand strong, to be ready and to be able to respond quickly to save lives, mitigate suffering and always be ready to deploy. He said they have demonstrated their competence over the past two weeks of training and he couldn’t be more proud to have witnessed that.

“I challenge you to work with Col. Flores and make this unit stand ready,” he said. “It’s got to be more than what we say. It’s got to be what we do. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your commitment. Be proud. Be professional. Stand strong.”

Brown thanked his family, the All Saints community and the Texas Army National Guard for their support. When he moved from Virginia to Texas four years ago, he needed to find a military home and he found it here, he said. He already had 18 years of military service at that time.

He said it was a privilege to command this battalion and a pleasure to relinquish the command to such a respected officer as Flores.

He thanked the battalion members for teaching him about the work and responsibility of military police officers. Brown came from a tanker background.

He praised the company commanders for their work and leadership and the battalion staff for their work.

He praised the select group of soldiers who prepared themselves to be in a high state of readiness in terms of training and equipment to respond in the event of homeland disasters.

And he said during the last training session, he enjoyed getting in an armored security vehicle, which is like a small tank, and shooting at targets.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” he said. “So, 136th MP a big thank you for sending me … out on top,” he said.

Flores thanked Brig. Gen. Patrick Hamilton for providing him with the privilege of commanding this battalion, Schnell for having confidence in his abilities to lead these soldiers, and Brown and Command Sgt. Maj. Mikeal Crummedyo for allowing him to accompany the soldiers on their recent training exercises.

“I was truly humbled and proud to have walked, talked and shot some rounds down range with you,” he said. “It was exciting because I saw qualified NCOs (non-commissioned officers) train some highly motivated soldiers for success.”

The 136th Military Police Battalion comprises four companies — the Headquarters and Headquarters Co. 136th Military Police Battalion in Tyler, the 236th Military Police Co. in San Antonio, the 712th Military Police Co. in Houston and the 606th Military Police Co. in El Paso.

About 680 soldiers combine to form the battalion. However, only the Tyler-based company was in attendance with a commander and first sergeant representing each of the other companies.

During Brown’s retirement ceremony, he received a Meritorious Service Medal and the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal for his service. He also received a framed piece with the battalion guidon and replicas of the four company guidons.

“His technical and tactical abilities have ensured the success of the 136th Military Police Battalion,” Hamilton said.

Brown received a certificate of retirement signed by Gov. Rick Perry. His wife, Kristen, received the Yellow Rose of Texas Award from Perry for community effort and involvement and Brown presented yellow roses to his mother-in-law, Sheila Pryor, in gratitude for her support during his many years of service.

Hamilton described Brown as the epitome of a traditional National Guard officer, “the classic minuteman.”

“He’s ready to go, and he’s proven (himself) time and time again,” he said.

He thanked All Saints Episcopal School for its support of Brown and his military career. Hamilton said commanding this battalion was a challenge for Brown because of the distance between the companies.

“His leadership has been greatly appreciated,” he said adding that they expect Brown to continue to be a voice for the Texas Army National Guard in the community.

Brown again thanked the Texas Army National Guard, his wife, Kristen, their three children and his mother-in-law for their support. He also said he is a great advocate for the National Guard.

“It’s been my great privilege to wear this uniform for 22 years,” he said.