Col. Bob Pastorelli and his wife, Anna, will start a new chapter in their lives as Pastorelli leaves the Garrison commander position for a new assignment as chief of staff at the Security Assistance Command. The assignment will allow the couple and their son Bobby to remain at Redstone Arsenal, where they have made many friends during a time of significant growth in facilities and services. The Garrison change of command ceremony is Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. in Bob Jones Auditorium.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Col. Bob Pastorelli and his wife, Anna, are not ones to buck tradition.

They enjoy the ceremonies and formalities that are so much part of the Army.

But on Oct. 15, they will be going against a long standing unofficial tradition that often accompanies the Garrison's change of command ceremony. Unlike most former Garrison commanders, Pastorelli won't be retiring from military service.

Instead, Pastorelli, 47, will go on to be chief of staff of the Security Assistance Command headquartered at Redstone. The new assignment allows his family to continue living in a community that Pastorelli described as "the best I've seen" and one that "truly loves and supports its military" while also providing this former Ordnance officer yet another challenging assignment in support of Soldiers and their families.

"The job entails being the inside guy that ensures the staff is supportive to the commander to the best of their ability," Pastorelli said. "Teamwork is the key in any Army organization and supporting the commander is essential to success.

"At USASAC we are looking at a different side of the Army. It's the side that supports our allies. We are providing them with quality American-made products to help them defend their countries."

By assisting in the defense of U.S. allies, the USASAC mission benefits the nation's international policy and strategy, the Army's worldwide mission to defend democracy and the U.S. economy.

For Pastorelli, USASAC's mission in helping Soldiers through building up ally defenses goes to the heart of his desire to support Soldiers no matter where future assignments take him. "Being able to serve Soldiers" is what the colonel has enjoyed the most in his 25 years of active duty. As the Garrison commander for nearly 27 months, Pastorelli said he has been part of a team of professionals that has made that goal of service more rewarding than challenging.

"The level of support, caring attitude and professionalism displayed daily by the Garrison work force and all of Team Redstone is second to none," he said. "The way Team Redstone works in unison makes life much easier and fulfilling. Every day has been exciting with so many people on staff focused on the right thing, and making sure we have quality facilities and services."

That team has provided the best services and facilities possible for Redstone's community of Soldiers, civilians, contractors, retirees, veterans and their families, and has worked to fulfill obligations outlined in Redstone's Army Family Covenant. In addition, Team Redstone has further solidified its relationship with the local community during Pastorelli's tenure, as witnessed through the signing of the Army Community Covenant.

"I've truly been blessed with an opportunity to serve this community," he said. "I've especially enjoyed being able to positively influence different aspects on the installation related to the on-post community and housing, numerous Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation activities, a safe and healthy workplace, our Garrison Holiday Ball, the Enhanced Use Lease project, Base Realignment and Closure construction and, most humbly, being there when tragedy struck the post."

Team Redstone regularly goes "outside the gates" to show its support for the local community through such events as the Veterans Day Parade, Oktoberfest, Armed Forces Week and Operation Christmas Bear.

"We've all heard it said before, but I truly believe this community is one of the best kept secrets in the Army," Pastorelli said. "The community and the people here really love and appreciate their military, and that's been validated at every community event I've participated in since coming here in the summer of 2008. I don't think it gets any better than right here."

The colonel said he has also been impressed with the way local organizations - such as the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, the North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organizations Coalition and many veterans groups - work together to the benefit of the military community.

"The collective of all of these groups together really sets this community apart from anywhere else," Pastorelli said. "They don't work to outdo each other. They complement each other in every way."

Inside the gates, Pastorelli and the Garrison staff - the unofficial mayor and city hall administration of Redstone -- meet the daily challenges of supporting a multitude of tenants whose work directly impacts servicemembers throughout the world.

"Redstone differs with respect to other Army posts in that it has a vast array of mission sets and for this reason it's truly a unique place to live and work," he said. "But Team Redstone and the Tennessee Valley community focus on providing the war fighter with only the best services and support necessary to accomplish the mission."

Numerous goals have been met during Pastorelli's tenure as the Garrison commander. He has served during a time of change that has had a substantial impact on the Arsenal's footprint. Pastorelli has been a part of events surrounding new facilities for the 2nd Recruiting Brigade, Army Materiel Command and the AMC band, Redstone Test Center, USASAC and other organizations moving to Redstone as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decisions.

"I knew about BRAC before I came to Redstone Arsenal," he said. "But the enormity of BRAC construction ... I didn't fully see it until I actually got here on the ground."

In addition, his term came during a time of unprecedented expansion of Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation facilities, such as the Bowling Center, Redstone Links, Survivor Outreach Services, School Age Services and the Child Development Center.

The colonel was also involved in the Enhanced Use Lease project, known as Redstone Gateway, that is defined as a $435.2 million, 1.454 square-foot office park to be built near Gate 9.

Along the way, he has been involved in infrastructure changes, such as improvements at the installation's gates, the new Gate 1 Visitor Center, new water and gas lines, an expanded airfield and increased customer services.

Threatening all Garrison projects and services during the past few years has been budget concerns.

"The toughest challenge has been in trying to meet all expectations and demands by your customers knowing that the budget does not fulfill all needs," he said. "We wish we could provide more services and support, but we must do our best with what limited resources we receive."

But the challenge Pastorelli has felt the deepest occurred following the May 5 explosion that took the lives of two employees of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

"That was a tough day for us all," he said. "No one ever wants to see human life lost. Our goal is always to operate safely in everything we do. Unfortunately, accidents do occur. The best thing you can do is to learn from those times and go on to do even better because of what you've learned."

That tragedy was soon followed by a fire that destroyed a Redstone Test Center facility, but caused no deaths or injuries. And on a personal note, Pastorelli and his family mourned the sudden death of the colonel's mother a few months ago.

In many ways, the Garrison commander's job has affected Pastorelli and his family both professionally and personally.

"My family has been blessed to have worked, gotten to know and socialized with so many wonderful people here," he said. "Though there were long days and many events, we grew closer as a family and really enjoyed our time here. The Pastorelli family has tried its best to make a difference."

While Pastorelli has filled his working hours with Arsenal business, his wife, Anna, has made a difference in her own way. With the help of their son Bobby, and Mary Cooper, wife of Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Cooper, Anna Pastorelli established the Newcomers Welcome Program to provide welcome gifts to the families of more than 300 young Soldiers, mostly who are assigned to the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School. The Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee, local AUSA chapter, and Post Exchange and Commissary donated to the program. She also established the Garrison Holiday Ball, and volunteered with both Arsenal and community organizations.

"I wish I could have reached out further than what was possible to those in need," she said. "But every day at Redstone has been great for me and my family. Nowhere else in the Army have I ever felt more welcome than right here in the Tennessee Valley."

For Pastorelli, his wife has been yet another member of a strong team that has made it possible to achieve Garrison goals.

"Relying on the team to work actions and solve issues is the only way to success. Through cooperation and understanding, we can overcome all obstacles and ensure mission completion," he said.

"But this job has taught me much more than that. I've also learned that money does not solve all issues, that family and recreation time does wonders for the spirit and soul, that remaining positive is essential, and that regular visits and meetings with the work force and our tenants allowed me to grow and learn as a person."

To be effective at Redstone, Pastorelli said a Garrison commander must be a good listener and understand what the customer's needs are, be able to work with a team to solve issues, allow leaders and employees to do their jobs, and ensure that the priorities of the senior commander are known and are the focus of Garrison operations.

"Do your best each and every day in support of our Soldiers, civilians and family members, and the benefits of your efforts will abound," Pastorelli said of his job as Garrison commander. "You can't be everywhere. You really must put your trust and faith and confidence in your staff to support the mission.

"Bottom line, is taking care of people and organizations. That's what we get paid to do."

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