The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) held a Change of Command ceremony at its main headquarters on the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi on Thursday, July 14.
Col. Teresa A. Schlosser transferred command to Col. Christian Patterson while Maj. Gen. Richard Heitkamp, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), served as the reviewing officer for the event.
“It is an honor to welcome a new commander to ERDC,” said Heitkamp. “ERDC is a fantastic jewel and one of the most diverse organizations of the world.”
The 41st Army Band Brass Quintet welcomed attendees as they arrived to the ceremony with an invocation delivered by Minister Norris Taylor and Lt. Col. Kevin Franke, ERDC deputy commander, serving as master of ceremonies.
Patterson is not only the first African American commander of the organization, he is the first public affairs officer as well.
“The ERDC commander has an important role, and as a member of the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows with accreditation in public relations plus military communication, Col. Patterson will continue to sell the fantastic capabilities that exist at ERDC,” said Heitkamp. “Thank you Col. Patterson for being the right leader at the right time.”
Prior to assuming command, Patterson served as the organizations director of communications.
“As we continue our legacy of premium service to America, it is no secret to why our team is one of the premier engineering and research organizations in the world,” he said. “At ERDC, over the past three years, I have listened — and here’s what I know. We have people that care for each other, relentlessly pursing high standards and are passionate to what they give to our country each day. It is an honor to serve with the ERDC team.”
A Jackson, Mississippi native, Patterson earned his commission as a second lieutenant from the Louisiana State University Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a 28-year veteran with deployments to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan and has also completed assignments in France, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Patterson has a master’s of business administration from Belhaven University, a bachelor’s in mass communication from Louisiana State University, an associate degree in radio, tv and film from Hinds Community College and a professional certificate in strategic communication and leadership from Seton Hall University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in communication through Liberty University.
A retirement ceremony for Schlosser was held immediately following the change of command. Schlosser has commanded ERDC since September 2019 and led the organization during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. She has been a steadfast leader providing guidance and counsel and endearing herself to the workforce with her Commander’s Notes.
The ERDC commander is responsible for the site management and planning of all associated installations and laboratories and leads the Command Staff Division. In their role, they assist the ERDC director and deputy director in planning and executing research and development activities, with emphasis on identifying Warfighter requirements and providing liaison to districts, installations and the Engineer Regiment.
Click link to view a recording of the ceremony: https://youtu.be/Ll7Y9HsBRH0