07/15/07 — Williford takes over 230th Battalion

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Williford takes over 230th Battalion

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 15, 2007 2:02 AM

After Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bain passed the 230th Brigade Support Battalion flag, he thanked those who showed up to see him off -- friends, family members and the men and women of the unit he has led since October 2005.

An afternoon ceremony at Goldsboro's National Guard Armory made it official -- Lt. Col. Bernie Williford is the new "Workhorse" commander.

"Today is a happy and sad day for me," Bain said. "I've been in this battalion for 20 years."

So he felt a sense of loss, knowing that his time with the unit had reached its end.

"Without your support, it would not have been a successful command," Bain told his troops. "Always aim high because you never know where you're going to go."

After he addressed the battalion for the last time, it was the new commander's turn to say a few words.

Williford called his new assignment a "great honor" and vowed to lead the men and women of the 230th with that spirit in mind.

"It is truly an honor for me today," he said. "I'm so honored to be given this opportunity."

But the ceremony was about more than a chance to greet those now under his command, he added.

It was also a time to say "Thank you" to a man he characterized as a "great friend."

"(Lt.) Col. Bain, what a great job you've done," Williford said. "I know all I have to do is follow your lead. You have my word that I will take care of your troops."

Williford has served since 1987, following his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

He was deployed on his first combat tour in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a platoon leader.

Williford has earned several awards and decorations during his 20-plus years in the military, including the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the state National Guard Commendation Medal with one Gold Hornets Nest.