Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois - The 160-year ties between the Quad Cities and U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal remained strong July 14, as the garrison guidon passed from outgoing commander, Col. Todd Allison, to incoming commander, Col. Dan Mitchell, whose family hails from Orion, Il.
The time-honored event, held on the lawn of historic Quarters One and hosted by Davis D. Tindoll, Jr., director, Installation Management Command - Sustainment, marked the conclusion of the two-year tenure of Allison, who arrived to the Arsenal at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tindoll spoke of the critical role garrison commanders play at installations across the globe, and the unique chain reaction of mission success that starts at that individual installation level.
“The Army IMCOM’s mission is to deliver base support from the strategic support area, enabling readiness for a globally responsive Army,” he said. “The centerpiece of this command is the garrisons.”
Allison reflected on the challenges of navigating the complicated role of running the day-to-day operations of the garrison to ensure mission success, while balancing needs of the workforce in a time of great uncertainty.
“When I took over, it was the height of the pandemic,” he said. “I’ve told many people it was like coming into command during combat. We had many people getting sick, they weren’t able to come to work, we were losing people, just like casualties, and I can tell you now- those were some of the darkest days of my time in command.”
Tindoll also referenced the challenges commanders faced during the pandemic and cited Allison’s inherent gifts of leadership and ingenuity as pivotal factors in RIA’s success in managing Army mission priorities during his time in command.
“Todd proved himself a gifted leader,” he said. “In today’s uncertain environment, where others saw challenge, he saw opportunity. Every day he portrayed the warrior’s ethos of duty, loyalty, honor and selfless service, as evidenced by his unwavering support to the senior commander and the mission partners on Rock Island.”
With the Army’s mission always at the forefront, Allison said partners located on the Arsenal were a driving force for the garrison to maintain and sustain operations even during the most trying times during his tenure.
“We opened the installation back up (during the pandemic), and we did that because we had to support over 50 mission partners, to include some of the Army’s most dynamic and influential commands in this nation’s strategic support area,” he said. “They never stopped in those challenging times of crisis, so we couldn’t stop as the garrison supporting them.”
Tindoll listed many successes Allison has led, even during a two-year period where the workforce and budgets were stretched across the board, from perfect inspection scores on Army-level Child and Youth Services inspections to winning and placing third in two Best Army Garrison competitions on 2021.
“RIA won first place in one category and advanced to win third place is the competition for best garrison of the entire Army,” he said. “This selection demonstrates his tireless efforts to improve quality of life and sustain mission readiness while meeting the fiscal realities despite numerous challenges along the way His accomplishments will have a profound and lasting impact on the future developments here on Rock Island Arsenal.”
Allison praised his wife, Dana, as a source of motivation and success in his role and expressed his deep gratitude for the numerous ways she has supported the community over the last two years.
“I am the luckiest guy in the world and I would not be the Army officer I am today without your love and support,” he said.
Incoming commander Mitchell spoke of his excitement to be a part of the RIA and Quad Cities community.
“I am very excited about this entire experience,” he said. “I have such an opportunity to impact the lives of our Soldiers, our civilians, our family members and the community at large. I am excited to work with all of our mission partners here, and I am truly humbled to be a part of your team and I look forward to making this garrison the best in the Army.”
Tindoll says RIA is in good hands with Mitchell, who has a wide array of experience under his belt, including three deployments. With assignments ranging from recruiting to force modernization, he believes Mitchell is the perfect selection to continue the initiatives, improvements and enhancements the Arsenal is undergoing, as well as to be a strong community partner for the Quad Cities.
“Col. Mitchell brings extensive experience to this new position,” he said. “He truly is no stranger to the art and science of leadership. I am certain you will build on the successes of your predecessors. The challenges will be many, but I am confident you will bring great energy and excellence to this installation.”