FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 21, 2016)--Lt. Col. James R. Barrows took command of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) June 21 from Lt. Col. Bret A. Tecklenburg at the Pool International Shooting Complex.
Barrows was assigned to USAMU ten years ago as a captain and said having worked with some of the Soldiers and Civilians already is unique and advantageous for him as he arrives.
"When you are new in an organization, it often takes some time to learn about people, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to use their talents to move the organization forward, so in my case, my learning curve should not be as steep," he said. "The skills, talents and dedication of our people is one thing, but to see the passion they show for what they do every day sets us apart, and I look forward to being here again."
Barrow's past assignments include 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery at Fort Lewis, Washington; 214th Field Artillery Brigade (FA BDE) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Fort Benning, Georgia; 41st Fires Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; to First Army, Division West and the 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Hood.
In 2003, while assigned to the 214th FA BDE, Barrows deployed to Iraq. He also deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 2008-2009 as part of a military transition team in Northern Iraq where he served as a fires advisor and team executive officer.
Barrow's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Air Assault Badge.
He is married to his wife, Marie, and they have a son, Connor.
Tecklenburg not only ended his tenure at USAMU but also retired from the Army June 17.
"After 24 years in the Army, this absolutely is the most phenomenal job I've had," he said. "After working with some great folks throughout my career and at different assignments, this is the single greatest collection of folks I have had the opportunity to work with, which is part of the reason I made this my departure point."
He said he hopes the Soldiers and Civilians remember him as "someone who cared about them and what we do … about doing the right things for the right reasons and, hopefully, taking care of them in the process."
Before he arrived at USAMU in 2014, Tecklenburg attended a Pre-Command Course and spent some time with the USAMU shooting teams and conducted self-study to better understand the different aspects and rules of the different shooting sports.
"Those are things I had to study before I got here but continued to learn after I got here," he said. "It's not just one shooting sport you have to learn--it's a wide variety and each one is different and each one has its own rules, significant events, guns and courses of fire."
Tecklenburg said focusing on the competition aspect helps Soldiers be successful in their respective shooting sports, which in turn makes the USAMU troops effective at improving the Army's marksmanship.
To accomplish this objective, USAMU Soldiers conduct courses like the Marksmanship Master Trainer Course.
"What we do inside the Army is more important for the Army and saves Soldiers' lives, but if we don't focus on the competition side, we're not able to do what--impact-wise--is more important, and that's utilizing the capabilities we were created to have and applying this to what the Army created us to do," he said.
Tecklenburg has served in every position from platoon leader through battalion commander as well as staff assignments at battalion level and with a joint staff.
He and his wife, Aletha, celebrated their 24th anniversary in February. They have twin boys--Kael Benjamin and Matty Bryant--who celebrate their 10th birthday in July.
Editor's Note: The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's mission is winning national and international shooting competitions and advancing small-arms lethality to demonstrate Army marksmanship capability and enhance marksmanship effectiveness in combat. USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade and Army Marketing and Research Group.