HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- There is a new U.S. Army garrison commander on Redstone Arsenal. Col. Kelsey Smith was welcomed at the garrison with a change of command ceremony on Tuesday.
The garrison commander is essentially the mayor of the arsenal, in charge of all of it's day to day operations. Smith became the garrison after the passing of the colors, an Army tradition that is 243 years old.
"To be honest I feel intimidated and anxious," said Smith, who has led and served soldiers his entire career.
"I had the fortune of leading them into combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have had the fortune of serving them and their families for about 24 years," Smith said. "And I think it's my calling."
He said he is ready for this new challenge of managing the arsenal, serving the soldier, their families, and the community.
Smith replaces colonel Tom Holliday, who served as garrison commander for two years and is retiring after 26 years of military service.
"We're going to stay here. As my grandfather used to say when you find a home don't leave it," said Holliday.
He said being the garrison commander is a big job, but it's not done alone.
"The team that I have is just unbelievable. Excuse me, the team that I had is unbelievable. And they make it look so easy," he said.
Holliday said one of the biggest responsibilities of being the garrison commander, and one of the best parts of the job, is serving the community.
"This community is like non-other that I've served in. They truly not only care, but they want to be involved, they want to help, and that has made this job so much easier," Holliday said.
Colonel Smith said he most looks forward to making the jobs of those on the arsenal easier. He is originally from Bellingham, Washington. He came to Huntsville with his wife Natalie and their two sons Kale and Lincoln.