FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Col. Charles Williams, garrison commander, is scheduled to relinquish command to Col. William Pfeffer during a ceremony in Nutter Field House at 9 a.m. Friday.

After more than 32 years of service to the Army, and serving as Fort Leonard Wood's garrison commander for the past three years, Williams said of everywhere he has been stationed, this assignment has been the highlight of his Army career.

"All of my jobs have been great, but this one is one where you can really make a difference every day for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Families," Williams said. "Since taking care of Soldiers is a leader's mission, what could be better than taking care of Soldiers and Families?"

Williams said his first assignment at Fort Leonard Wood was in 2003, but in 2006 he received orders for Fort Bragg, N.C. His family stayed in Waynesville, Mo., while he made the transition from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to the U.S. Army Forces Command and prepared for his sixth deployment, which would be his second time deployed to Iraq.

After his last deployment, Williams said he was fortunate to return to Fort Leonard Wood in 2008, and decided to retire in 2010 after 30 years of service; however, after being deferred from command and then reslated for the summer of 2010, he had to make a decision.

"In February 2009, before I got reslated, the designated inbound garrison commander for Fort Leonard Wood decided he was not coming," Williams said. "So, as the only unslated principal from the previous command list, I actually lucked into this position. I was already here, familiar with Fort Leonard Wood and now had the opportunity to command again. I was really fired up."

The last three years as garrison commander has given Williams many experiences, but he recalled the EF3 tornado that struck Fort Leonard Wood on Dec. 31, 2010 and the "fantastic fashion in which the Fort Leonard Wood garrison responded" as something he will never forget as well as "the manner in which we cared for Soldiers and Families, and the speed in which we recovered."

Williams said he will miss being the garrison commander and everyone on the garrison command team, but although he is leaving active duty, he hopes to continue to serve the Soldiers and Families on Fort Leonard Wood.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve, work with, and lead such a great team," Williams said.

Connie Faulkner, garrison command executive assistant, said as a boss, Williams was informal and approachable, had a great sense of humor and a laid-back attitude; however, he worked diligently and compromised nothing when it came Fort Leonard Wood's Soldiers and Family members.

"I have never seen a commander who invested more time and energy into listening to the Soldiers and Family members' needs and concerns than him. He went way out of his way to inform and assist any person who asked him for help," Faulkner said. "I saw him spend many days contemplating and worrying about meeting the needs of his command and his community -- I wish people could have seen that."

Faulkner said that while some commanders leave their command saying "I built this or I increased this," Williams can say all those things and "I cared" while doing them. The fact that Williams cared "is his greatest legacy," she added.

Williams enlisted in the Army in 1980 as a military policeman, and was later commissioned as an armor officer through the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1985. His previous assignments include Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; West Point, N.Y.; Mannheim, Germany; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Bragg, N.C.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University in 1987, and earned his Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and Leader Development from Long Island University in 1994.

His military education includes the Armor Officer Basic Course, Military Police Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms Services and Staff School, and the Command and General Staff College. He was selected for the Senior Service College in 2006.

Page last updated Wed June 13th, 2012 at 00:00