FORT LEE, Va. – Members of the Sustainment Center of Excellence community gathered today to bid farewell to Lt. Col. Heather M. Reilly and welcome Lt. Col. Daniel T. Trost as the new 262nd Quartermaster Battalion commander.
The change of command ceremony was held indoors at the Lee Theater due to inclement weather. Col. Jason P. Affolder, 23rd QM Brigade commander, presided over the event. Distinguished guests in attendance included the senior mission commander at Fort Lee, Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge C. Escobedo, CASCOM CSM, Col. Michelle K. Donahue, Quartermaster School commandant and her command team counterpart CSM Eric J. Vidal, QMS CSM, as well as members of the incoming and outgoing commanders’ families.
As he began his remarks, Affolder made note of Reilly’s disappointment that the ceremony was not held outdoors after a year of so many events having to be downsized and held virtually due to the threat of COVID-19.
“Lt. Col. Reilly was hoping we could demonstrate that we have begun the return to normalcy based on the great vaccination efforts of our Army and our nation,” Affolder said.
The pandemic has been a burden to military leaders without question, and the brigade commander chose to point out Reilly’s efforts to safeguard the health and wellness of her troops while also ensuring the Army readiness imperative of quality training continued.
“During Lt. Col. Reilly’s time, I’m told exactly 10, 262 Soldiers graduated,” Affolder cited. “That’s a remarkable contribution to the readiness of our Army, especially given the global pandemic over the last 16 months, which demanded two-thirds of her time as commander.”
Last year, Affolder said Reilly’s leadership was tested when one of her companies received its first positive COVID case from a Soldier in the formation. With her people-first approach, she was able to quickly assess the situation without compromising the safety of others.
“Heather’s leadership caused the battalion and the entire organization to respond with a people-first mindset – to take care of that NCO and his family while quickly identifying how we would protect the force and continue to train.”
Reilly’s legacy in the Life Line to Victory battalion set the conditions for excellence and are an example for other battalions to follow in the future, Affolder further noted. The outgoing commander’s impact was felt across the battalion and beyond, impacting the entire Fort Lee community, he said.
“When I think of (her legacy in the battalion), I think of two words: excellence and example. These words are not separate, but they work together, and they are the result of Heather’s positively intrusive and engaged leadership style.
“Heather, you had an incredible impact on the battalion – the Soldiers and leaders within it – and the entire Fort Lee community,” Affolder said. “…Take one look at this battalion and you will find excellence. Dig a little deeper and you will uncover many artifacts of excellence.”
Next to speak was Reilly, who took time to reflect on the many unique challenges the battalion faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m proud of the work the team put in to ensure their safety and that of the Soldiers trusted to our care,” she said as she transitioned to comments specifically directed at the Life Line battalion’s cadre.
“Despite the endless cleaning, the sanitizing of barracks and classrooms, and the additional measures of multiple temperature checks and social distancing, you kept on moving over 1,200 Soldiers in the battalion to the departments – petroleum and water, aerial delivery and food services and the paralegal specialist center. You are charged with growing the next generation. I have been in awe of the commitment this team has given to these Soldiers.”
She then thanked the Combined Arms Support Command and Quartermaster Corps leadership teams for trusting her to head up the mission of the battalion. Reilly acknowledged her friends and battle buddies. She expressed gratitude to the commanders, first sergeants, drill sergeants, NCOs, Soldiers and support teams and charged them with continuing to develop future Soldiers.
“Continue the mentorship, the individual growth, and instilling the ethos and Army values,” she encouraged, “I ask you more than any other to work tirelessly in support of this great mission. I also ask you to continue your own professional growth and take care of yourself and your family. Thank you for your dedication and growing the next generation.”
In the closing moments of her remarks, Reilly extended a welcome to Trost and challenged him with continuing the efforts of holding the line and being the voice of reason.
“You are charged with the care and protection of this formation…We still have a long way to go with people first, inclusion and sexual harassment and assault,” she said. “Be confrontational. Stand up for what is right. If not you, then who? I’m proud to hand you these unit colors today. I know you will serve them well.”
Last to speak was Trost who emphasized how humbled he is by the opportunity to lead, train and build future Soldiers.
“To the leaders, NCOs, drill sergeants and Soldiers of the 262nd Quartermaster Battalion, I look forward to working with you and building the team as we continue our great legacy to provide the Army ready and able Soldiers.”
Trost is no stranger to Fort Lee; in his previous assignment he served as the chair of the Applied Logistics Studies Department at Army Logistics University. Reilly will be heading off to the 82nd Airborne Division G/4 for a year, and then transition to the Senior Service College.