Qatar-based 'Readiness Battalion' changes hands
July 2, 2008
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, QATAR Ac"a,! "Readiness Six, signing off the net - Army Strong," said Lt. Col. Maxine C. Girard.
With those words she bade farewell to the Soldiers, Army civilians, contractors and other guests who gathered here to watch as she relinquished command of the unit she had led since July 13, 2006.
The change of command ceremony, held June 30, 2008, in the Area Support Group-Qatar "small gym" was hosted by Col. John F. Wharton, commander, Army Materiel Command - Southwest Asia, and saw Lt. Col. Jerry C. Jones accept the battalion's colors and mantle of responsibility as commander of 1st Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade.
Girard, who has already been selected for colonel and will next attend the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., paid tribute to the families, noncommissioned officers and civilian employees of the battalion, as well as to the contract companies and workers who, she said, made the 1st Battalion's success possible.
"What a group of outstanding individuals and professionals - your unwavering support enabled the battalion to do its job successfully," she said to the contractors in the audience. "You knew the full measure of your jobs - impacting the safety and wellbeing of Soldiers. Thank you all for your superlative efforts in sustaining our readiness and the readiness of the warfighter."
In his remarks to the audience, Wharton highlighted the unique nature of Girard's command and what the future holds for her. "Although we know you are departing, we also take comfort knowing that you will return (here) as a colonel to command the ASG," he said. "Rarely do we find in this Army a commander who is promotable and selected for (a future) command while still in command."
"That's a tribute to Maxine's professionalism," he continued. "In fact, I don't know if I have ever heard of that before in the Army."
Jones, who comes to battalion command from Headquarters, U.S. Central Command, directed his comments primarily at the men and women of the "Strength Through Readiness" battalion, which receives, stores, repairs, configures, issues, and retrogrades Army Preposition Stocks, repairs and returns battle damaged Stryker Combat Vehicles and Theater Sustainment Stocks to warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, while also managing the Tire Assembly Repair Program and supporting the Army Reset Program.
He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, where he earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. His badges include the master parachutist badge, parachute rigger badge and various foreign jump wings.
"The task remains clear," Jones said. "We are an Army at war; we have a sacred duty to provide the Soldiers in the CENTCOM AOR whatever resources they need on the battlefield."
Now carrying the 1st Battalion commander's traditional communications call sign -"Readiness Six," Jones went on to issue a final challenge to his new team.
"We will do our duty, honor our commitments and fulfill our obligations - we can do no less," said Jones. "Our fellow Soldiers and our nation are counting on us."