NEWS | Aug. 9, 2021

America’s Thunder welcomes new commander

By Sgt. Rebecca Call Utah Army National Guard

– The 65th Field Artillery Brigade said farewell to their outgoing commander and welcomed their incoming commander at a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 8, 2021, at Camp Williams, Utah.

Col. Steven A. Fairbourn relinquished command of the 65th FAB to Col. Shawn M. Fuellenbach during the ceremony. Family and friends came out in support of both officers.

Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, the adjutant general, Utah National Guard, presided over the passing of the brigade colors from the current commander to the new commander, signifying the transition of the brigade’s lineage, responsibility and authority to Fuellenbach.

In his speech, Turley recounted the many accomplishments of the 65th FAB under Fairbourn’s command to include supporting civil authorities during protests in Salt Lake City, providing security for the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C., and supporting the Utah National Guard’s pandemic response.

“You have done an outstanding job,” said Turley. “You have definitely commanded this brigade and taken it from one level to the next level.”

Turley also expressed his confidence in Fuellenbach taking the command of the 65th FAB.

“He is the real deal,” said Turley. “I know that he is going to take this command and really run with it, and do a great job for both the Soldiers in this brigade, as well as the state.”

During his 21 years in the military, Fairbourn served in numerous staff positions before commanding the 65th Field Artillery Brigade, including battery fire-direction officer, battery executive officer, battalion chemical officer, battalion fire-direction officer, and battery assistant operations officer. He also served as an operations officer and planner in the 65th FAB and as the Utah National Guard public affairs officer.

In his comments to the audience, Fairbourn expressed his gratitude and pride in the multiple accomplishments of his Soldiers during his command.

“I am very proud of America’s Thunder’s accomplishments during this time and fully acknowledge that these aren’t my accomplishments, these are your accomplishments,” said Fairbourn. “Serving with you and for you as your commander has been my singular greatest military honor.”

Fuellenbach is the son of a retired deputy commander of I Corps Artillery and continues to carry on his family legacy as an artilleryman. He enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard as a field artillery cannon-crew member. He went on to be the battery commander for Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery in Richfield, Utah, where he deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq for 12 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit received the Hamilton Award, which is awarded to the best field artillery battery in the Army National Guard. He also deployed for 10 months in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve.

Fuellenbach spoke of the importance of the people in the organization including the families and former members of the brigade.

“In the Army and the Army National Guard, people are our number one priority. They are our most important resource and we must take every good care of them. Our people are not just the soldiers standing here in formation today, but also our families and retirees: our Soldiers for Life,” he said.

Fuellenbach concluded by speaking of the prospects of the brigade’s future and showed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the 65th FAB.

“The future of field artillery is bright and we are going to be an important part of this nation’s defense moving forward,” he said. “Thank you again for this opportunity to lead this fine brigade. America's Thunder!”

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