All the Army recruiters in Queens and Nassau County are organized into one company, known as the “Titans,” because of the size of the territory and the number of potential recruits – 209 square miles and 1.5 million, respectively.
On Tuesday, June 22, the soldiers and several family members gathered on the parade grounds of Fort Totten in Bayside for a change-of-command ceremony with a 400-year origin.
Captain Hany S. Noureddine, an Astoria native who joined the Army to learn a trade and went on to earn a degree from St. John’s University and a commission as an officer, completed a three-year assignment as Commanding Officer (CO) of the Titans, and will relocate to Fort Bliss in Texas.
Replacing him is Captain Brooke Brown, a Wisconsin-born West Point graduate, Blackhawk helicopter pilot and decorated veteran of the war in Iraq.
Ever since dust and smoke first made flags and standards necessary to control troops on the battlefield, any change of command involved passing of the “colors.”
Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Omuso George approached a detachment of the troops, with Noureddine at his right and Brown at his left. A sergeant bearing the Company Guidon, or banner, passed it to Noureddine, who passed it to George, who passed it to Brown, who returned it to the Sergeant.
It was done. As they about-faced and returned to their seats, Brown and Noureddine executed a maneuver so that when they again took seats, the new Company Commander was at the Colonel’s right.
Noureddine was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for bringing the company from last to first place in recruitment – over 1,300 recruits. During his farewell remarks he recollected that, when he took over, his predecessor nearly came to tears. “I didn’t understand it then. I understand now,” he said haltingly.
In keeping with centuries of military tradition, the new CO spoke last, pledging her dedication, giving thanks and recognition – and her first order.
“All orders and directives remain in effect.”