Lt. Col. John Litchfield relinquished command of the Warrior Transition Battalion to Lt. Col. Joseph Messina, June 21 at the Defense Acquisition University's Scott Hall.
Brig. Gen. Telita Crosland, Regional Health Command-Atlantic commander, said the Battalion's mission cannot be understated. The Army has a holistic commitment to Soldiers and families, and the WTB role is critical in helping Soldiers return to the force or transition to civilian life.
"The Army is committed to the welfare of all wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and their families," she said. "The commitment has endured during periods of downsizing and transformation, and I want you all to know that it will continue to endure."
Litchfield led the organization with excellence and set the standard for others to follow, she said. Career-education readiness among Soldiers in the WTB rose from 58 percent to 82 percent. And the organization earned a 90 percent during its Operational Inspection Program, which was the highest score in the history of the Warrior Care Transition Program.
Litchfield recalled a time when he wondered if he was making a difference. Getting to command the WTB and support the mission made him feel fortunate and answered his prayers to be able to dedicate his time to serving others.
"I have seen firsthand, every day for the last two years, the impact that we have on people," he said.
He is grateful to those who touched his life, including a Soldier in the audience who was battling a life-threatening illness.
"I hope that our Soldiers who are facing challenges, big or small, find the strength to continue to overcome those challenges," Litchfield said. And, he hopes Messina will continue the mission.
Litchfield told Messina that "this is a wonderful job, but it is a taxing job." He thanked Messina's family for their dedication to allow Messina to serve Soldiers.
Crosland said she had faith that Messina was ready to take responsibility for the Battalion.
"You are taking command of an incredibly talented team of committed professionals," she said, adding that Messina will have the chance to shape and develop the team further.
Messina was glad to be following in Litchfield's footsteps. He thanked his family and friends for "setting the foundation for the man and officer that I've become."
He will continue to work toward understanding and serving those in the WTB, Messina said, "to ensure that we're providing you with the care that you deserve, so that we can take care of the Army's greatest mission."