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Change of command; New leader at Fort Devens says `No one gets here alone'.

Byline: Alexandra Tilsley

DEVENS - As Lt. Col. Warren F. Bacote assumed command of the U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Devens yesterday, he spoke of his gratitude for his family, fellow soldiers and predecessor.

"No one gets here alone," Lt. Col. Bacote said at the change of command ceremony yesterday morning. "I have been very fortunate over my 20-year career to have outstanding leaders, dedicated and talented soldiers and lots of people praying for me. This honor is as much yours at it is mine."

Lt. Col. Bacote takes over for Lt. Col. Steven W. Nott, who has served as commander of Fort Devens since May 2007 and is moving to Pennsylvania to attend the U.S. Army War College.

Command Sgt. Maj. Frank MacRae passed the Devens colors to Lt. Col. Nott for the last time yesterday before they were passed to Lt. Col. Bacote for the first time.

Lt. Col. Bacote, a Bronze Star recipient, has been with the military since 1989. Most recently, he was with the Total Force Integrator/Combat Developer USA MANSCEN at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

As he begins his new post, Lt. Col. Bacote said, he is simply trying "to learn what the heck is going on."

He also recognized the work of Lt. Col. Nott, who was as much the focus of the ceremony as the incoming commander.

Fort Dix Commander Col. Patrick J. Slowey praised Lt. Col. Nott's accomplishments.

"Steve is living proof that you can survive garrison command," he said. "In fact, he didn't just survive, he thrived."

Col. Slowey specifically cited Lt. Col. Nott's ability to solve problems and his dedication to community engagement.

Richard Brackett, executive officer of Fort Devens, also spoke warmly of Lt. Col. Nott.

"He's a great guy," Mr. Brackett said. "He did all the things he had to do."

Mr. Brackett recalled an event in Pepperell at which someone said every child in kindergarten, middle school and high school knew Lt. Col. Nott because of his continuing involvement in the community and with local schools.

"He made an impression on the community," Brackett said.

Lt. Col. Nott credited the community as he gave his final speech at Fort Devens.

"What goes on outside the fence is at least as important as what goes on inside," Lt. Col. Nott said.

What goes on outside that fence has changed in recent years. Until 1996, Fort Devens served as a military base. When it was closed as an active duty installation, control of the area was given to the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, with only 5,000 acres remaining as Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, later renamed Fort Devens.

Under the direction of the state agency, the former Fort Devens - now known simply as Devens - has grown and changed, on its way to becoming a residential community and economic hub.

Devens now boasts restaurants, shops, a hotel, its own Dunkin' Donuts and plenty of recreational fields. Jobs lost with the closing of Fort Devens have been recreated as businesses, including Bristol Myers Squibb and Evergreen Solar, moved to the area. Though the plan for Devens' redevelopment spans 40 years, the area has already come a long way from its time as a military base.

"The project's still moving forward," said Meg Delorier, chief of staff for the state agency. "But we've also always maintained a very good working relationship with the Department of Defense."

Last year more than 30,000 military personnel trained there.


CUTLINE: Lt. Col. Warren F. Bacote, center, receives the flag from Col. Patrick J. Slowey, left, as the command passed from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Steven W. Nott, right, to Lt. Col. Bacote in a ceremony at U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Devens yesterday morning. (MAP 1) Devens area (MAP 2) Former Fort Devens

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 8, 2009
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