Fort Benning changes garrison command
June 19, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 19, 2013) -- Col. Michail S. Huerter assumed command of the Fort Benning garrison Friday from Col. Jeffrey Fletcher during a ceremony in front of McGinnis-Wickam Hall.
Huerter, a native of Topeka, Kan., began his career as an Infantryman at Fort Benning in 1990, and said he was proud to now call the Chattahoochee Valley home.
"As an Infantry officer, you're always coming and going to and from Fort Benning, and it's good to finally call this my home," he said. "I'm amazed at the development not only at Fort Benning, but also the surrounding communities of Phenix City, Columbus and LaGrange. It's truly awesome and inspiring to be back, and the reception that everyone has given me has been unbelievable."
Huerter has seven combat tours, including six in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. His most recent assignment before assuming command of the garrison was as the director of operations for the NATO Special Operations Component Command in Afghanistan from June 2012 to April 2013.
Davis D. Tindoll Jr., the director of Installation Management Command's Atlantic Region, was on hand to not only welcome Huerter, but also to bid farewell to Fletcher.
"Col. Fletcher is one of those outstanding leaders who, over the past two years, excelled in overcoming numerous challenges," Tindoll said. "This command team has done their part in making Fort Benning a model installation, and they have accomplished that task during a challenging time of unparalleled growth amid sequestration and change. The Fletcher family certainly leaves Fort Benning a better place than when they arrived two years ago."
During the ceremony, Fletcher, who will soon deploy to Afghanistan to serve as an adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said Huerter is the leader the garrison needs.
"Col. Huerter is the right leader at the right time, whose vision, acumen and leadership will help guide the installation of Fort Benning during a very critical period in its history," he said. "I know that he and Command Sgt. Maj. (Richard) Sullivan will help lead the garrison to greater heights, ensuring the great reputation we enjoy remains intact."
He also issued his thanks to the members of the Fort Benning community that he has served for the last two years.
"I want to thank the Soldiers and Families of the Fort Benning community," Fletcher said. "Our nation has asked so much of them in the past decade and we're gong to continue to ask much of them in decades to come and they've responded admirably. And yet, they have not asked for much in return. We're fortunate to have them in our ranks, and I consider myself privileged to both serve them and serve alongside them."
Huerter said he is looking forward to leading a community that sees many of its Soldiers and Families choose to stay in the area after their careers are over.
"People don't just come here to work and to Soldier," Huerter said. "They come here and end up retiring and living here. That's because of the great teamwork between Columbus, Phenix City and Fort Benning."