By Master Sgt. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET) Public AffairsAugust 13, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The time honored tradition of passing the Colors from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander was instrumental in a Change of Command Ceremony held on Victory Field here. Presiding over the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, deputy commanding general, U. S. Army Reserve Command.
During the opening ceremony, parade cannons sounded off and the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, 108th Training Command (IET), was presented an honorary shell casing to mark the occasion. The Commander of Troops, Col. Andrew Bassford, began the ceremony by forming the command.
In keeping with military tradition, Stall passed the Colors relinquishing command to the incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser. The ceremony emphasizes the continuity of leadership and unit identity, and symbolizes the transfer of command responsibility from the departing commander to the arriving commander.
The Colors represent not only the heritage and history of the unit, but also the unity and loyalty of its Soldiers. The Colors are the commander's symbol of authority, representing his/her responsibilities to the organization. Wherever the commander is, there also are the Colors.
"Thank you very much for being here this morning to recognize the accomplishments of a tremendous Soldier and leader and welcome aboard a very talented and experienced new commander for the 108th Training Command," said Lesniak.
The Army Reserve's primary mission is to provide trained and ready Soldiers and units to support our six combatant commands across the world. We provide a versatile mix of enabling capability, the total and joint force. Our Soldiers also provide skills by virtue of their civilian work experience. Our ARFORGEN progressive readiness model produces 28,000 Soldiers a year that are available to deploy into theatre. I am proud that we do this very efficiently, said Lesniak.
To maintain that force, the Army Reserve brings in over 20,000 new Soldiers a year. The 108th Training Command plays a key role enabling USARC to sustain that production especially during the summer surge and for the past 12 years in support of the commitments in theatre.
"During his past three years of command, Maj. Gen. Rob Stall has masterfully guided this command along the path, of what I would call, sustained excellence. He has put together a solid management system that provides excellent management control but also provides clear commanders' intent and guidance in a manner that supports the current Army focus on mission command," continued Lesniak.
The 108th provides over 1,000 drill sergeants every year in support of Initial Entry
Training, reception center and training committee operations, the chaplain school, conducting drill sergeant sustainment training, and directly supports the Drill Sergeant School.
"Rob, thank you for all you have done for this command, for all you have done for the Army and throughout your command tenure, it has been great working with you," Lesniak said.
"I am also very happy to welcome Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser as the new commanding general of the 108th Training Command. She brings an entire military family to this command," continued Lesniak. "I know that Maj. Gen. Purser is committed to this assignment. It brings to mind the scene out of 'Patton', three weeks after 'D' Day when Patton said he would crawl on his belly to get a command, but Maj. Gen. Purser did not have to do that, but let me assure you her passion to want to continue to serve and command at the two-star level in the Army Reserve is intense and she is going to bring that with all her vigor in this command."
Lesniak commended the Soldiers standing in formation representing not only the 108th Training Command but all the Soldiers serving in the Army today; a true team of professionals that do great things for our Army every day. Thank you for all of you being here today. May God continue to bless the 108th Training Command, its leadership and our Great Nation.
When Stall took command of the 108th Training Command (IET) in 2010, it would be his prelude to retirement from the Army Reserve.
"Three years ago I became your commander knowing at that time it would probably be my final three years in the Army Reserve and it has been a magnificent journey for me. We have accomplished so much over the last three years, overcoming many obstacles that challenged us to produce our main pacing items, our drill sergeants, said Stall.
"All have sung your praises. Continue to strive to be the best you can be. Support the new commander, the way you have supported me," said Stall. "Being the commander of the 108th Training Command has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career, my life. Nancy and I wish you only the best in the years ahead and we will miss you. Victory Starts Here! Thank you," concluded Stall.
Purser was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on May 25, 1980. She held command and staff positions at every level to include, but not limited to, Liaison Officer, Netherland Logistics Element, 310th Theatre Army Area Command, Brunnsum, Netherlands; Deputy Joint Training Exercise Coordinator, Joint Warfighting Center/J7, Atlantic Command, Suffolk, Va.; commander 1st Battalion, 311th Regiment, 78th Division, Richmond, Va.; 3431st MI Group Commander, NGIC, Charlottesville, Va.; commander, Military Intelligence Readiness Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.; Chief, Defense Intelligence Support Office-Iraq, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq; Deputy Chief, Army Reserve for Human Capital and currently as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, HQDA.
She is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff School, and the United States Army War College. As a distinguished military graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she received her BA Degree in Graphic Art, and a MSS Degree in Strategic Studies at the United States Army War College. Her awards include the Legion of Merit (3 OLCs), Bronze Star Medal, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLCs), Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Military Intelligence Corps Knowlton Award.
Coming to this command was an assignment Purser eagerly pursued. She thanked her family for their support, special thanks to Soldiers standing on the field and those that traveled long distances.
"Welcome and thank you for attending and being a part of the ceremony today and a special thanks to the 380th band all the way from Richmond, you sound great. I am very honored and pleased to be here assigned to a unit that has such a stellar reputation," said Purser.
"In the past month, as the incoming commander, I have had an opportunity to observe some of you in action. I observed a group of very talented and dedicated individuals providing significant and meaningful contributions to the missions of the command, the support of USARC, TRADOC, and greater Army missions. I consider this to be a reflection of your skills, knowledge, expertise and outstanding leadership and direction of my predecessor; you certainly leave big shoes to fill," said Purser. "Victory Starts Here!"
After the ceremony, a Dining Out in honor of Stall's retirement was held to recognize and thank him for all his years of dedicated service. He will retire after serving his country for 36 years, with his final three years in the Army Reserve as commander of the 108th Training Command (IET).
Activated as the 108th Airborne Division after World War II (1946), the "Golden Griffons" were originally headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. The division was called the
Golden Griffons because of its initial air-ground mission.
In October 2008, the 108th Division (IT) became the 108th Training Command (IET). Today, being one of the largest training commands in the U.S. Army Reserve with three divisions spread from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, it is known as a premiere U.S. Army Reserve Command focused on training citizens into warriors nationwide.
The three divisions, 95th, 98th, and 104th, conduct Basic Combat Training (BCT), one Station Unit Training (OSUT), and Leader Training (LT) at six Army Training Centers. The mission is critical to providing new Soldiers and officers to support the future needs of the Army and Army Reserve.