By Pvt. Josue PatricioMay 17, 2019
"Now that I'm positioned, it's amazing," said Lt. Col. Glen MacDonald. "I'm honored to be in the position, I'm honored to have been selected to do this."
MacDonald is from South Windsor, Connecticut. In 1997, he enlisted with the Connecticut National Guard. He received an ROTC commission from the University of Connecticut and began his active duty service in 2001.
At Fort Drum, New York, MacDonald joined his brother-in-law, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Parker, the 10th Mountain Division Band Commander.
Parker says he is happy to have the opportunity to be stationed together and is confident that MacDonald will be exceptional at his new position.
"He's a very strong leader. No doubt that the 7th Engineer Battalion will do great things under his command," Parker said.
MacDonald's plan was to stay with the National Guard. He then received active duty orders once he commissioned. He planned on completing his first term and getting settled back in once he got back home.
"To this day, I look back and the one thing that changed everything was a letter that one of my squad leaders left me," MacDonald said.
Before the end of his first term, while as a platoon leader in South Korea, he received a letter from one of his squad leaders. In it, the Soldier discussed his view on leadership and expressed his appreciation for MacDonald and his leadership style. The Soldier also mentioned their time spent together and his hopes for MacDonald's future in the Army.
MacDonald was motivated to stay in longer and reached out to his wife to make the decision, "'I know I'm getting out but what do you think about doing a couple more years?'" MacDonald said, who has now served in the Army for 22 years. "There was always something like 'this has been great so far, we love what we do, we love soldiers, we love the Army, we really enjoy this profession.'"
So, after a conversation with his wife, he decided to stay in active duty.
MacDonald has served on several deployments since then in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He says he was also fortunate enough to serve in the Congressional Fellowship Program to a state senator, a learning experience he had the opportunity to take part in.
MacDonald has adopted the Army as his own family and cares for his Soldiers under his command. With that comes the hardship of losing those you've embraced as your own.
While on a deployment, he suffered the loss of a Soldier, an experience he admits as being one of the most challenging in his career.
"We all know we take that risk when we volunteer to do this, but it doesn't make it any easier," MacDonald said.
Taking command of a new battalion presents its own challenges and MacDonald describes the balance between Army life and family. As a leader he preaches to Soldiers to integrate both sides. In his opinion, the key to achieving success in this profession is integrating family and making them part of the experience that comes with the Army journey.
This integration is one that Parker is gratified to have with his brother-in-law.
"To have that added bonus of the military being a family affair it's great to see how that relationship has grown," Parker said. "Having had a sounding board about command has only made me a better leader."
MacDonald is grateful for his family's support throughout his Army career. He was also appreciative of their large presence at the change of command ceremony.
"We've worked very hard as a family to keep them included," MacDonald said. "I was super fortunate to have a ton of them at the ceremony to represent the family and support us."