309th MI Battalion gains new commander
June 10, 2010
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- As the 309th Military Intelligence guidon exchanged hands on Brown Parade Field, June 3, two military officers assumed new roles.
Lt. Col. Robert Schulte formally took the reins of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion to become its new commander.
Lt. Col. Kevin Wilkinson vacated that position to eventaully become the deputy G2, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Col. Thomas Miller, reviewing officer and 111th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, gave opening remarks, officially welcoming the incoming commander and his family while praising the accomplishments of the outgoing commander and sharing anecdotes which left the audience in peals of laughter.
Wilkenson thanked Maj. General John Custer, commander, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, for the freedom to command, and Miller for his level head in problematic situations.
The outgoing commander also quoted a baseball player who once called himself "the luckiest man in the world," saying he [Wilkenson] was much luckier to serve the nation during a time of war that was less forgiving of mistakes [than those made during peacetime], training Soldiers of which a majority would be deployed within six months to "support a nation at war."
Wilkenson also praised the unit for their intense training pace which left for no downtime, and for creating realistic training scenarios such as the mock Afghanistan training village in Garden Canyon. He also lauded the addition of 09L interpreter/translator training to the battalion.
Finally, Wilkenson thanked specific individuals and his unit, saying they were "truly the best."
Next, Schulte took the stand where he made very brief remarks.
He thanked Custer and Miller, saying, "It is truly an honor to have this command," adding he was pleased to have the mission of "training intelligence professionals during this time of war."
Schulte also thanked his family for making the trip out to "sunny Arizona" to watch him assume his new role.
Following the ceremony, in time-honored tradition, B Troop, 4th Regiment, U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) made it's charge across Brown Parade Field, firing shots as they raced toward the gazebo at the west end of the field.
Near the beginning of the ceremony, the incoming and outgoing commanders' wives were presented with bouquets of roses.
Wilkinson's wife, Julia, received red roses, in full bloom, symbolizing mission accomplishment while her husband was battalion commander. The couple has two sons, James and Jack.
Schulte's spouse, Janel, received a bouquet of yellow roses with partially opened blossoms, a symbol of new challenges to be faced. The Schultes have two children, Chase and Riley.
Kim Therrian, a member of the audience during the event, said it was a "very nice ceremony, and I think B Troop did the best charge I've ever seen."