ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The U.S. Army Reserve’s 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command conducted a change of command ceremony for their headquarters and headquarters company, October 3, 2021.
Maj. Scott Hager, outgoing commander, served as the HHC commander since August 2019. Hager in his next assignment will serve in the 85th USARSC’s Internal Review Section.
Hager offered some final words for the Soldiers of the 85th USARSC headquarters.
“It was an honor serving as the HHC Commander for all the HHC Soldiers. We had many challenges, but we rose to meet every (challenge). Thank you to all for your support,” said Hager.
Maj. Jodi Wernikoff, incoming commander for the “Custer Division” HHC, previously served as the Human Performance Director for Special Operations Command Africa in Stuttgart, Germany.
Wernikoff accepted the position and vowed to serve with distinction in her new position as the company commander.
“It is an honor to be here and an honor to serve. I will strive to continue the tradition of Custer excellence,” said Wernikoff.
During a 2010-2011 deployment, Hager served as the commander of the HHC, 96th Military Police Battalion, to Camp Sabalu-Harrison, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, he was the lead instructor for the Afghan National Army Officer and the Senior Non-commissioned Officer Leadership course.
Hager’s top awards include the Bronze Star Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals.
Wernikoff deployed as the battalion physician assistant for the 45th Sustainment Brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
She additionally served as a battalion physician assistant for the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Camp Carroll, South Korea; brigade surgeon for the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade in Bristol, Pennsylvania; HHC Commander of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade in Homewood, Illinois; and Mobilization Officer for the 328th Combat Support Hospital in Ft. Douglas, Utah.
Wernikoff’s top awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
The 85th USARSC’s nine brigade support elements, along with its 45 battalions dispersed across 25 states, provide capable and ready Army Reserve observer coach/trainers. These OC/Ts possess the capabilities to partner with and train Army leaders in focused areas of leadership, training, equipping and unit manning in order to support First Army’s mission to successfully deploy units to win on the battlefield.
The 85th USARSC lineage dates back to August 5, 1917 when it was constituted as the 85th Infantry Division, and later activated at Camp Custer, Michigan, to deploy overseas in July 1918. The division later served in World War II and participated in the campaigns of Rome-Arno, Po Valley, and North Apennines.
Four “Custermen” were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service in WWII: 1st. Lt. Orville Bloch, 338th Infantry Regiment; Sgt. Chris Carr, 337th Infantry Regiment; and posthumously: Staff Sgt. George Keathley, 338th infantry Regiment and 1st Lt. Robert Waugh, 339th Infantry Regiment.