By Mr. Robert Timmons (IMCOM)August 3, 2017
Col. John B. McShane Jr. isn't leaving the Soldier Support Institute after months of wearing multiple hats including commander. After Col. Stephen K. Aiton assumed command during a ceremony July 31, he's "just going down the hall."
McShane said he's looking forward to "supporting the (SSI) commander in my old-new role as deputy commander. I am honored to remain a part of the Soldier Support Institute leadership team and will provide the utmost effort to continue the success of the institute under Col. Aiton's leadership."
Aiton was the Fort Knox, Kentucky garrison commander before taking the SSI helm. The SSI commander makes decisions that directly affect the training, education and readiness of more than 20,000 Soldiers annually.
SSI directly affects Soldiers in the field.
"Having come out of theater recently I can tell you that the two Corps that worked tirelessly behind the scenes taking care of Soldiers … were Finance and AG corps," said Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command during his first trip to Fort Jackson.
The institute is comprised of the Adjutant General School, Finance Management School, U.S. Army School of Music, Interservice Postal Training Activity, Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, and the 369th Adjutant General Battalion. The Non-commissioned Officers Academy also falls under SSI.
Hurley and Aiton had previously worked closely together when Hurley commanded the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, during the move to Fort Knox from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
"With Steve's help the 1st TSC moved from Fort Bragg to Fort Knox, and they moved (because of the hard work of Steve and his team) into facilities that are renovated historic buildings. These are state of the art facilities and will help the 1st TSC support U.S. Army Central and the mission in theater."
Hurley said it was a "thing of beauty to see" how Aiton and his wife supported the new unit.
Not only was Aiton successful as garrison commander, he has led Soldiers for over 20 years "with great distinction."
Aiton was commissioned a second lieutenant in the AG Corps after graduating from Louisiana State University in 1990, but was initially branch detailed to infantry. He has served in numerous leadership roles including Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel with the 3rd Infantry Division, and chief of the J1 Personnel Division at U.S. Central Command.
"I'm excited to be here," Aiton said during the ceremony. "If you would have told me six months ago that I'd be giving up a set of garrison colors at Fort Knox and two weeks later taking the SSI colors here at Fort Jackson I'd have never believed it."
Twenty-two years ago this month, Aiton reported to a small group in the SSI building as part of the very first AG advanced course.
"I was relatively brand new to the AG Corps having just finished a four-year detail as an infantry officer," Aiton said. "I have learned an incredible amount in the two plus decades since then. One of the most important being that colonels are much younger and better looking now than they were then.
"A lot's changed in the 22 years since I last spent time in this building. Our nation has been at war for almost 16 years and the global terror threat remains very real … challenge the way we think, organize and fight. What I am confident hasn't changed and what I am committed to put my full energy behind is the SSI's unwavering commitment to our part of sustainment warfighting functions … enabling commanders and units to focus on fighting and winning in a complex and unpredictable world."