Running an installation isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires the hands on leadership and is dependent of teamwork.
Vincent Grewatz, director of Installation Management Command’s Directorate of Training, cautioned Col. Ryan Hanson that “nothing you have done in your career will prepare you for this job,” after the latter he took command of Fort Jackson’s garrison June 15.
Hanson took the reins of Fort Jackson’s garrison from Col. John “Wes” Hankins during a change of command ceremony in Victory Hall on post.
“The fact is command is a team sport,” Grewatz said moments after passing Hanson the unit colors. “A change of command underscores two dimensions of it – change and continuity. And today, we celebrate the change of garrison leadership, certainly, even as the Soldiers and civilians of this team will remain engaged, supporting training, providing protection, enabling readiness and caring for the community here at Fort Jackson.”
The past year and half had “tried our souls” to take care of the community, Grewatz added.
“We never anticipated the last two years,” he added, “and I think it is a testament to the resilience of the community that we made it through that; and I do truly appreciate the contribution of the leaders here at Fort Jackson.”
Grewatz lauded Hankins’ efforts during the pandemic and noted his “selfless service over the last year and half” in helping keep the installation running. “You took care of our children, you protected the community, you cared for Soldiers and families of Fort Jackson and the Columbia (South Carolina) region.”
One highlight of Hankins’ tenure on Jackson was “spearheading” collaboration with the Medical University of South Carolina for the first drive-thru COVID testing.
For Hankins it was a “great honor and privilege” to be the garrison commander. “I am truly thankful to have had the opportunity to command United State Army Garrison … I cannot thank our team enough and especially the directors” who led the installation support here on Fort Jackson.
The Army didn’t have to go far to find another leader to helm Fort Jackson’s garrison, Grewatz added.
Hanson has a “track record of excellence” and brings “extensive experience” to the position.
Hanson is a Civil Affairs officer who most recently served as brigade commander for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He has held multiple leadership positions including battalion commander in the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne). He has completed multiple operational and tactical assignments including deployments to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Germany, Poland and the Philippines.
Hanson is also no stranger to Fort Jackson having commanded a company in 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment and served as the Aide-de-Camp to a previous Fort Jackson commander.
For him it was a “victory” to come back to Fort Jackson, “to come back home and try something new.”
When told his Family he was being assigned back to South Carolina to serve at Fort Jackson, “they were ecstatic and couldn’t be happier,” Hanson said during the ceremony. “To be honest, this where our home is. This is where our friends are from.”
Hanson said his experiences should help during his tenure as garrison commander.
“I am a Civil Affairs officer by training, so I really like getting out and meeting people and being in the community,” Hanson said after the ceremony. “I think that plays to some of my strengths as garrison commander at Fort Jackson.”
He added that he sees his tenure as garrison commander to be community focused.
“I think that is one of my strengths,” Hanson added. “I think I am a very calm leader. That’s kind of my strength. I believe that by default my philosophy is a voice not heard is a voice not considered.
“It kind of means a few things to me like … everyone has an opinion that’s valuable,” he continued. “So we have an obligation to listen.”