By Maj. Michael OdgersNovember 8, 2013
Fort Greely, Alaska -- The 49th Missile Defense Battalion has a new Commander at its helm, Lt. Col. Michael Hatfield. Hatfield assumed command during a Change-of-Command ceremony at Fort Greely, Alaska Sept. 11th.
Hatfield is no stranger to Fort Greely. He served with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion from 2006-2009 as a Crew Director and Battalion Executive Officer, before returning to the 100th Missile Defense Brigade in 2010, where he served as a Missile Defense Element Crew Director.
Lt. Col. Hatfield, a former combat medic, graduated from Ohio University in 1996 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and branched Air Defense Artillery. He served in a variety of ADA positions within the Ohio Army National Guard before taking an Active Duty Guard Position with the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, Colorado Army National Guard in 2003.
Coming back to Fort Greely was a bit of a home coming for Hatfield. "I feel more at home here than I do in Colorado Springs," remarked Hatfield. "This feels like 1985 small town Ohio, where I grew up. This is a great place to set up roots."
Even with his familiarity of Fort Greely and his family's fond memories, that did not mean the decision came without consternation. With the thought of severing the roots Hatfield and his family had made in Colorado, the question of whether this was the right time to return had to be answered. Hatfield felt there was unfinished business and that he had a responsibility to return. After several family discussions, right up to the application deadline, the family was ready for potential change and Hatfield submitted his application.
"I believe in mission first people always. I want to develop agile leaders and resilient families dedicated to meeting our operational demands," commented Hatfield about his leadership philosophy. "I want to develop and mentor leaders of character who are committed and competent. I want us to be good stewards of our resources, all so that we can be a globally responsive and regionally engaged force prepared to defend the United States against a limited ICBM attack."
If you were to sum up his leadership philosophy in a few words it would be fair, firm and consistent.
"I believe that being firm, fair and consistent stabilizes the force and ensures that all Soldiers understand what is required of them," Hatfield continued. "That consistency is essential in moving forward."
The Hatfields have been adjusting well to Fort Greely. There had been a discussion of whether to live off post or on post. Hatfield had wanted to enjoy the peace and serenity of his own patch of land, but the rest of his family wanted the convenience of on post living. He was out voted 5-1.
They have been thriving well and participating in the community. His oldest daughter, Cassidy (16), is attending the local high school and plays soccer. His youngest daughter, Madison (12), is attending the middle school and is a member of the Radio Flyers club, and his two sons, Ethan (8)and Elijah (6), are having a blast playing soccer, riding their bikes and playing with all the neighbor kids.