FORT BRAGG, NC – Col. John Wilcox assumed garrison command of Fort Bragg from Col. Scott Pence in a ceremony at the Main Post Flag Pole, June 24.
A familiar face to Fort Bragg, Wilcox knows and understands its diverse units and missions. Wilcox earned his commission in the Military Police Corps in 1999 and volunteered to join Special Operations Civil Affairs in 2007. His most recent assignment was as deputy chief of staff G-5 for U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2021.
“It is hard to believe that just a short 15 years ago – I signed in to Fort Bragg as a very green Captain,” said Wilcox. “Fresh out of jump school, I was champing at the bit to become part of the airborne and special operations community. Today, after the trials and tribulation of time spent here at Bragg - marked miles run and rucked all over Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall; hours and hours spent in the harness; unit celebrations; Family readiness events; holiday celebrations; joyous 4th of July ceremonies, and the somber ceremonies and memorial services held at churches just around the corner from here, I can say that Fort Bragg is every bit as much a part of my Army experience as the Soldiers with whom I have been honored to serve alongside.”
Wilcox is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and holds master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Army War College.
Wilcox’s other assignments include director of the Afghan local police special operations advisory cell, where he served as part of the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan, and commander, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). Wilcox’s other Civil Affairs assignments include: chief of plans for 95th CA Brigade (A)(SO), CA advisor USFOR-A G9, and assistant chief of staff G9, 2nd Infantry Division.
Brenda Lee McCullough, director of Installation Management Command-Readiness, oversaw the ceremony and spoke of the accomplishments made while Pence was in command.
“Garrison commanders are entrusted in defending the homeland and you, Scott, as the garrison commander have served steadfast and firm in our defense, thank you,” said McCullough. “Commanding a garrison is a tough business – requiring strong, dynamic and inspiring leadership. From August 2020 to June 2022, you’ve flawlessly lead our nation’s premier strategic deployment platform and immediate response force installation through multiple real-world deployments and you accomplished this while balancing the critical fiscal and resourcing challenges as the Fort Bragg Garrison Commander.”
Pence took command of Garrison Fort Bragg in 2020 and was hit immediately with a global pandemic and the challenges that surrounded to ensure the safety and health of the 270,000 personnel who live and work on the installation. McCullough added that Pence and the Garrison team expertly implemented and managed COVID-19 safety protocols; providing vaccines for over 50,000 military personnel, civilians and Family members while still continuing to improve quality of life on Fort Bragg through several initiatives.
“For me, this has become the highlight of my career – the very best job of my life,” said Pence. “When you can come home at night and feel fulfilled knowing you’re something bigger than yourself – that’s a great job. Because of the impact of our supported efforts (for) the largest military population of any installation in the Department of Defense, and because of the mission those Soldiers and leaders do – each effort is worth it and to be just a part of it is fulfilling.”
Pence took the time to thank the many who guided and assisted in the accomplishments overseen during his two-year tenure, stating that the successes achieved were due to the efforts of personnel who want the best for the Soldiers and Families at Fort Bragg.
Pence also spoke of future projects scheduled for Fort Bragg that Wilcox will have the pleasure of overseeing like a new theater and restaurant complex, road construction in the housing areas, a new on-post hotel, the renovation of the old officer’s club into an innovation out-post, and the renaming of the installation.
“Thank you all for this wonderful experience,” Pence concluded with a smile. “Work is more than just punching the clock for me. The relationship we’ve built doesn’t end now. We are life-long partners whether you like it or not.”
Pence’s next adventure is to assume duties on the J-3 Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.