By Crista Mary MackMarch 21, 2019
FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii - U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col Anthony Tolentino assumed command of the 411th Engineer Battalion, 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Henry Tennant at an official change of command ceremony here May 11.
The 411th Engineer Battalion is the Army Reserve's most dispersed and experienced construction engineer unit in the Pacific Region, with units on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Guam, American Samoa and Alaska, headquartered at Fort Shafter. Despite their geographical distance, the over 700 Soldiers of the 411th all adhere to the battalion motto, Ready and Able.
"Both of our commanders today on the stage have served as enlisted first so you know their foundation is very solid," Col. Samuel Membrere, commander 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade said. The 303rd MEB is the higher command of the 411th, and was officiated by senior commander Membrere, himself former commander of the 411th 2011 through 2014.
The ceremony featured an official passing of the colors. The passing of the unit colors is an Army tradition signifying passing of responsibility of the command, ceremonially, with the physical action of passing the flag of the unit from the formation, across the senior leaders, outgoing commander to incoming commander and returning again. The colors were passed from 411th Eng. Bn. Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Seno to outgoing commander Tennant, senior commander Membrere, incoming commander Tolentino and back to Seno and the color guard.
In his over 32 years of service to the nation, outgoing commander Tennant has grown in positions of leadership across the Corps of Engineers. He has served in Louisiana, Maryland, Washington D.C., Georgia, Afghanistan and Hawaii, with the support and moves of his family for the journey.
"Lt. Col. Henry Tennant, your multi functional leadership demonstrates exception, you've distinguished yourself as a fine leader, " Membrere said. "Your recent successes in Exercise Cobra Gold and across the Pacific made a difference in the most dispersed Engineer Battalion in the Army Reserve. Job well done."
From beginnings in 1992 with the Louisiana National Guard's 528th Eng. Bn. (Combat) (Heavy), then commissioning in 1992, Tennant served as a platoon leader, executive officer and then company commander with the 844th Engineer Combat Battalion. After various assignments in the Acquisitions Corps and CECOM as well as a tour with the U.S. Army Reserve Command G4. Tennant served many increasing positions of responsibility, including as the Acquisitions Officer in the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology - Army Reserve Element and finally as the commander of the 411th Engineer Battalion.
"Command is like a double edged sword, both a burden and an blessing, but most importantly it's an honorT," Tennant said. "The moral obligation to always do what's right, selfless service, commitment to excellence, are just some of the virtues of command."
Incoming commander Tolentino brings to the 411th over 24 years of service and a multitude of assignments and tours. With six years enlisted in the 298th Engineer Detachment of the Hawaii Army National Guard, he commissioned in 2000 from the University of Hawaii Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He served two tours in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom 5 and 6 and OEF 10. After serving as the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Brigade Engineer, Tolentino transferred in 2018 into the Army Reserve where he last served as a liaison officer in the 25th Infantry Division Man Command Post Operational Detachment, or MCP-OD. As a Citizen Soldier, Tolentino's civilian employment is he serves the nation as the Collective Training Branch Chief with U.S. Army Pacific Operations Training at Fort Shafter.
"This is your opportunity and the chance to make the 411th even better," Membrere said to Tolentino. "Even though we are located from the North Pole of Alaska to the tip of Saipan, I'm glad we have you just across the street here in Hawaii as the battalion commander."
Tolentino thanked Membrere, thanked Tennant for his leadership and the smooth transition as well as his Hawaii Army National Guard friends and family for their support.
"I am truly blessed and honored to be trusted the privilege to lead and to serve the 411th Battalion and your families," Tolentino said.
Tolentino acknowledged the hardships ahead, thanking the Soldiers on the field for their dedication and, in the spirit of being Ready and Able, welcomed the missions ahead.
"To the men and women of the 411th Battalion, thank you for the professionalism you displayed today, I look forward to standing with you in the ranks as we the meet the next challenge," he said.