By Greg Thompson, Fort Knox News Contributing WriterJune 9, 2017
In a change of command ceremony held May 31 at Waybur Theater on Fort Knox Col. Nelson Irizarry, the commander of the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center, relinquished his duties and responsibilities and passed the mantel of command over to Col. Kathleen Porter.
During his final remarks as outgoing commander, Irizarry told his two young sons--Christian and Connor--sitting in the front row that he would be ready to go fishing with them following two stringent years of duty.
To his sergeants major, he said if they ever needed someone to go with them in battle, he would be by their side.
The 83rd ARRTC will continue its mission of developing relevant leadership, sustainment, security and readiness, education and training that meets the needs of the Army's total force. Its ultimate goal is preparing Soldiers and civilians by giving them the tools and tactics necessary to win and prevail in complex, often uncertain, environments.
The change of command ceremony is rich in symbolism and tradition. The key is the passing of the unit's colors which represent the loyalty and unity of the personnel making up the 83rd ARRTC.
The passing of the colors not only symbolizes the transfer of command and authority from former leadership to new but also demonstrates--while there has been a change in leadership--the mission remains the same and all continue to be steadfast in seeing it through to its completion.
In the ceremony, Irizarry passed the colors to Maj. Gen. Tracy Thompson, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, signifying a successful completion of his time of command.
Thompson then passed the colors to Porter, incoming commander, charging her with the responsibilities and duties afforded her.
She then passed the colors to 83rd ARRTC Command Sgt. Major Edward Roderiques as her first official act as commander of the unit and completing the change of command ceremony.
"I am very honored, humbled and excited for this phenomenal opportunity," Porter said, as she addressed the audience for the first time as commander of the 83rd ARRTC. "I promise my unwavering support and commitment and bring to the command the leadership traits I have learned. I look forward to what the future will bring."
Like Irizarry, Porter carries on the Army tradition of excellence established by the legacy of the 83rd Infantry Division that fought in World War I and World War II.
The 83rd Army Reserve Readiness Training Center has been stationed at Fort Knox since September 2011.
The 83rd ARRTC is a large and dynamic training center within the Army.
"We're not just a school house," said Roderiques, "we're a proponent school house which implies we have a directorate of training development."
Twenty-two course curriculum are written by the 83rd ARRTC and it also delivers courses of instruction--including the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, the Battle Staff under the Mission Center of Excellence, the Master Leader Course, Transportation School, Military Police School and if there is a division in need of a course a division within the 83rd will create a compliant, standard-ready course.
Roderiques said they will be sending teams to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to deliver the Mission Command Digital Master Gunner Course and also the Army Reserve portion of the Battalion and Brigade Pre-Command Course.
"That's a long way around saying we are a very dynamic training and educational institution not just for the Army Reserve but for the total Army," he said. "When you look at the 83rd it's not simply a collection of classrooms -- it's a large collection of professional instructors, developers and leaders that provide world class training in education and instruction to every component of the Army and sister-service members. We are doing all kinds of things everywhere."
Porter arrives to the 83rd ARRTC from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command where she served as chief of staff of the Army Reserve Enlisted Division.
Irizarry is now assigned to Fort Knox's U.S. Army Cadet Command where he will serve as chief of staff for reserve affairs.