Engineer battalion welcomes new leader
By Justin Creech
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The 249th Engineer Battalion conducted a change-of-command ceremony July 14, as Lt. Col. Calvin Hudson assumed command from Lt. Col. Matthew Tyler.
Hudson assumes command with experience in combat engineering, having served in three combat engineer battalions throughout his 17 years in the Army.
“It is an absolute milestone in my career for me and my Family,” Hudson said. “Like I said, if it were up to me I would’ve messed up a long time ago. So, I can tell you, God got in my shoe. It’s a huge responsibility that I think the Army has prepared me for. I’m enthusiastic and I’m ready.”
During his speech, Hudson remarked about how humbled he was being in the presence of so many people that he holds in high regard, such as Maj. Gen. Merdith Temple, acting chief of engineers, Commanding General U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also mentioned letting the ghost of the battalions past be his guide and that he is following giants.
As he stepped away from the podium and looked out at the battalion’s Soldiers at the end of the ceremony, Hudson said he was struck with amazement.
“Wow,” Hudson remarked about his feelings at the conclusion of the ceremony. “Responsibility, amazement and gratification for what I think was hard work to get here. I felt a responsibility for each and every one of those Soldiers out there on that field, because that’s what I’m responsible for now.”
Hudson said he is grateful to be following Tyler, whom he served with in the 65th Engineer Battalion and whom has left quite a legacy. Hudson, though, is eager to leave his own legacy.
“I would like to leave a legacy of an environment where I made people feel good about coming to work,” said Hudson. “A sense of accomplishment and a self-worth for each and every one of my Soldiers that they would leave ready to come to work the next day. An atmosphere that is conducive to learning and where you can make mistakes in order to learn.”
Tyler leaves command, having led the battalion to great highs. During his time as commander, the battalion responded to seven natural disasters, most notably, the earthquake and tsunami in American Samoa; the earthquake in Haiti and tornadoes in Alabama. Tyler also moved the Army Prime Power School from Belvoir to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
“You stay so busy in this position, I don’t think you ever take time to reflect back and think about the things that you’ve done,” said Tyler. “But, as I look back I really have to say that I’m honored to have been a part of the organization and to achieve some of the things we achieved. Some of them big, some of them small, but knowing those accomplishments are out there. That’s what matters a lot to me.”
Tyler said he did think to himself “What am I going to do when I wake up tomorrow morning?” and how proud he was of his Soldiers throughout the ceremony. He also said he is confident being followed by Hudson.
“There are a handful of people that I could’ve passed that guidon to. Had it not been one of them, Gen. Temple would’ve had to wrestle the battalion colors out of my hand,” said Tyler. “Calvin Hudson, he’s one of those folks.”
Hudson recognized Tyler’s wife, Michelle, during his speech; a moment Tyler called “special” and “I just thought that was something else.”
He also said having previously served with Hudson helped his confidence in leaving the battalion.
“Sometimes, commanders are threatened by one another - the outgoing and the incoming,” said Tyler. “That’s one thing because we know each other, I’m not threatened by him at all and I don’t think he’s threatened by me at all.”
Hudson served as a line platoon leader in the 44th Engineer Battalion from 1994-95. He then served as company executive officer, battalion operations officer, and battalion plans officer for the 20th Engineer Battalion, 1st Calvary Division, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. He has also served as the B Company commander for the 65th Engineer Battalion (Light), 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.