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Company E, 16th Ordnance Battalion 1st Sgt. Byrd Johnson Jr., right, and company commander Capt. Rachel M. Wills, left, case the unit colors during a Discontinuance Ceremony in the Aberdeen Area Athletic Center Oct. 16.

After more than 19 years of training ordnance officers, warrant officers and international students on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Company E, 16th Ordnance Battalion conducted a discontinuance ceremony in accordance with mission requirements under base realignment and closure. The ceremony was held in the Aberdeen Area Athletic Center Oct. 16.

The 16th Ordnance Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Stephen T. Cheng officiated over the ceremony that included the casing of the Company E, 16th colors.

Cheng talked about the decades of ordnance officers who received their initial training in the unit.

"This is a pretty special day for us," Cheng said. "Everyone received their first instruction as ordnance officers and warrant officers right here. We're talking about decades and decades of Army officers."

He noted that the unit was being discontinued as opposed to deactivated.

"You don't deactivate a [Table of distribution and allowances - TDA], you discontinue it," Cheng said.

Noting that due to the discontinuance, there would be no incoming commander, Cheng expressed high praise for company commander Capt. Rachel Wills. He said he worked with Wills for 15 months and was "impressed by her dedication to the job."

"She is driven by a sincere desire to do what's right for her unit, her Soldiers and the Army," he said. "She really cares about not only officers but the future of the officer corps in the Army. She does what she does because she knows the country is in a time of crisis."

He expressed thanks to Company E, 16th 1st Sgt. Byrd Johnson Jr., to former 1st Sgt. Jack Logan and the Company E, 16th civilian staff.

"It's been a remarkable experience watching five or six people support the future leaders of the Ordnance Corps," he said.

Wills thanked Cheng and fellow commanders for their support and said it was a "distinct honor" to lead Company E, 16th.

"I accepted the challenge with open arms, and it was the toughest yet most rewarding of my career," she said.

"Over the past fifteen months, I've seen some amazing young men and women take charge of defending this country, and I've had the pleasure of watching extraordinary noncommissioned officers take the giant leap to become warrant officers."

She thanked 1st Sgt. Byrd Johnson Jr. for his support, calling him, "one of the most professional and compassionate NCOs I ever worked with."

She also thanked the NCOs who supported the unit's mission as well as the civilian staff and supporting organizations.

In particular, she thanked her sister, Shirley Deardorf, for caring for her son, Jacob over the past 15 months.

Both her sister and son were in attendance. Deardorf was presented with a bouquet of yellow roses, and Jacob Wills received a certificate of achievement and a battalion coin.

In addition, Cheng, who recalled that Wills was an avid Pittsburg Steelers fan, presented her with a football autographed by former Steeler Franco Harris, who was a guest at the opening of the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools' new dining facility in Fort Lee, Va.

Wills will assume duties in the battalion S-1 and will undergo a permanent change of station to Fort Hood, Texas, in January. Johnson will assume duties in the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Academy. He called his 12 months as Company E, 16th first sergeant "rewarding."

"It was outstanding," he said. "I dealt with the officers on a limited basis and mainly communicated with a lot of good people who assisted and supported our officers and the mission. I'm proud of what we accomplished, and I really love what I do."

Company E, 16th Ordnance Battalion

Company E, 16th Ordnance Battalion was activated in April 1990 to provide leadership, command and control and administrative support for new ordnance lieutenants attending the Officer Basic Course at APG.

From April 1990 to February 1995, Company E continued to provide leadership for those preparing to take their first assignment as ordnance officers.

With the discontinuance of Company D, 16th Ordnance Battalion in February 1995, Company E assumed the additional responsibility of providing the same support to ordnance warrant officers attending basic and advanced courses.

Also during this time, the ordnance officer structure changed, combining the Maintenance and Munitions tracks for Ordnance lieutenants. This meant that lieutenants no longer attended OBC at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. They all now passed through Company E.

In April 2000, Company E gained the role and functions of Company F, which discontinued, and assumed the mission of training international military students attending the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School. Since assuming this mission, Company E has provided support for more than 800 students from more than 40 countries.

In April 2005, Company E assumed the mission of Company G which was activated to support officers from the Reserves and Inactive Ready Reserve who were activated in support of the War on Terror. At this point, Company E became responsible for providing leadership and support for all officers attending training at OMMS.

Company E 16th past commanders

Capt. Rachel Wills, July 2008 - October 2009
Capt. Marcus Davis, December 2007 - July 2008
Capt. Tameka Lewis, January 2006 - December 2007
Capt. Jonathan Miller, April 2004 - January 2006
Capt. Thomas Stocks, July 2002 - April 2004
Capt. Ramon Sanchez, January 2000 - July 2002
Maj. Charles Wilson, September 1998 - January 2000
Capt. Paul McBride, April 1997 - September 1998
Capt. Karen Barnes, November 1995 - April 1997
Capt. Kim Ghan Goodwin, June 1994 - November 1995
Capt. Mike Vanderlin, January 1993 - June 1994
Capt. Theresa Rice, August 1991 - January 1993
Capt. Thomas Martinez, April 1990 - August 1991
International military students from the following countries attended training at Company E:
Afghanistan, Albania, American Samoa, Antigua Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, India, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mongolia, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, St. Vincent, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16