Col. Michael Rauhut replaced Col. Ryan Kuhn as commander of the 197th Infantry Brigade Friday during a change of command ceremony at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center’s parade field.
“As we say, ‘thank you’ to Ryan and Jackie for their service here — we also welcome the new commander of the 197th Infantry Brigade, Colonel Mike Rauhut and his bride of 19 years, Sandy,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, Fort Benning’s commanding general. “The Army is really good about making sure that when we have one great leader move on, another talented and dedicated Army Family steps up.”
Brown said Rauhut has spent 26 years as a “proven combat leader” who brings with him devout service to the United States.
“His reputation precedes him here as an exceptional leader who routinely instills discipline in his unit and a pride in his Soldiers that is contagious. He is committed to his Soldiers, caring for their Families and the Army,” Brown said.
Rauhut’s previous assignment was as a faculty member of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Rauhut said he and his Family look forward to building lasting relationships and lifelong memories with the battalion.
“Training and educating Soldiers and leaders is what we are all about,” Rauhut said. “I share your passion for — and pursuit of — values-based, personal and professional excellence and I am truly humbled and honored to serve with you as we provide the Army Soldiers and leaders prepared to fight and win during this time of war.” Kuhn wished Rauhut good luck as the new commander of the brigade.
“Mike, today the brigade has won the jackpot with you being the next ‘Forever Forward’ brigade commander,” Kuhn said. “Jackie and I wish you and Sandy godspeed and good luck. Make no mistake about it, these Soldiers will take great care of you.”
Since Kuhn took command two years ago, Brown said the brigade trained more than 200,000 Soldiers in more than 82 different locations.
Kuhn oversaw the Army’s only company “earmarked for experimentation,” which completed more than 32 experiments for the Army.
Brown said Kuhn encouraged hard work but not to forget how to have fun — incorporating the concept of team and involving Families.
“He also encouraged the team aspect to extend beyond the brigade — to the entire Maneuver Center of Excellence and even further — beyond the gates of Fort Benning to our surrounding communities,” Brown said. Kuhn said company commanders, first sergeants, warrant officers, NCOs, Soldiers and civilians were the reason why the brigade was one of the best.
“All of you were hand-selected to be the Army’s subject matter experts in 21 different combat skills,” Kuhn said. “You have been the spark and the keeper of the flame for warrior ethos, and our Army is more lethal due to your instruction.”
Kuhn’s next assignment is as director of operations and training in Iraq.