MRICD Leadership Changes Hands
The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense hosted a change of command within its new complex at Aberdeen Proving Ground South (Edgewood), Maryland as Col. Bruce A. Schoneboom relinquished leadership of the organization to Col. Roman O. Bilynsky July 22.
The dual ceremony included Schoneboom's retirement. Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, led both ceremonies.
Schoneboom received the Legion of Merit and the Department of the Army Certificate of Retirement signed by Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno.
Caravalho said he was honored to preside over the ceremonies and thanked all for attending in the "impressive new facility." He called MRICD the center of excellence for chemical research and said when the building opens it will be the premier chemical defense laboratory in the Department of Defense.
"[MRICD has] continuously proven itself vital for chemical defense and for our Nation's defense."
He added that Schoneboom treated MRICD staff and Soldiers like Family, establishing an open-door policy to address each concern.
"He's made a lasting, positive impact on the mission," Caravalho said.
Welcoming Bilynsky, Caravalho noted, "His extensive training gives him the tools to take the command to the next level of excellence."
"The great MRICD staff and the American people deserve the best from this command [which is] making a real difference on the battlefieldâ€¦saving Soldiers and saving lives."
Noting the day was special personally and professionally, Schoneboom thanked all for coming and expressed his gratitude of having the ceremony in the new building.
"For a farm boy from a small town, I've had a full and rich career," he said. "Over the past 29 years, I've met and made remarkable friends who enriched my life in a number of ways."
He acknowledged senior leaders in the audience, named several who provided "incredible mentorship" throughout his career and said, "It's been an honor and a blessing to serve with all of you."
"No matter what success is attributed to me, it could not be accomplished without a team," he said, adding his thanks to the MRICD workforce, particularly the command staff.
Schoneboom welcomed Bilynsky and wished him well.
"I know this staff will support you like they supported me," he said.
Bilynsky said he was honored and humbled by his selection to lead the MRICD.
"I take this responsibility as a sacred oath and I will continue the work started by Col. Schoneboom and take [MRICD] to the next level," he said, adding the organization's overall mission remains, "rendering threats harmless to protect our Warfighters."
"I will work with others to accomplish these goals [and we will] work together with all of you to strengthen our Nation's chemical defenses and support our allies," he said.
The ceremony included music by the brass quintet of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," from Washington, D.C., the posting and retiring of the colors by the MRICD color guard, the invocation by Elder Larry Presley and a poetry reading by Larry O'Neal. Capt. Carl Smith served as the master of ceremonies.