JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Washington – Soldiers, families, and community members gathered to bid farewell to Willard M. Burleson III, outgoing commanding general, 7th Infantry Division, relinquished command to the incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Xavier T. Brunson, during a Change of Command ceremony held on Watkins Field at JBLM, Wash., August 13.
In keeping with military tradition, Burleson relinquished command by passing the 7th Infantry Division colors, which symbolize command, to Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, commanding general, I Corps, who then passed them to Brunson, thus endowing him with the authority of command, and formally recognizing him as the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division.
“You have done what you always do so well,” said Burleson to the Soldiers on the field. “You take a little bit of guidance and make it happen. It has been a tremendous honor to serve with you.”
Burleson took the opportunity to speak about all the missions his units accomplished during his two-year command. Deployments to Afghanistan, assisting with the California wildfires, and the Southwest Border Mission to rotations in Korea, Thailand and the Philippines as part of U.S. Army Pacific’s bilateral exercises.
“These Soldiers standing before you are ready,” said Burleson. “They have answered our Nation’s call to defend our country and our way of life, and for this we should all be grateful.”
Brunson, the incoming commander, recognized and thanked Burleson for the accomplishments of the Bayonet Division under his leadership and direction while serving as the commander of 7th ID.
Brunson graduated from Hampton University and was commissioned into the Infantry in1990.
As a General Officer, he served as Assistant Commanding General (Support), United States Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, NC and Operation Inherent Resolve and Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY.
Brunson’s previous position was Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq and XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, NC.
– 7th Infantry Division