FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood’s 1st Engineer Brigade held a change-of-responsibility ceremony Tuesday at Nutter Field House, where Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Russell relinquished responsibility of the brigade to Command Sgt. Maj. Don Batchan.
During the ceremony, 1st En. Bde. Commander Col. Aaron Bohrer, who served as the reviewing officer, highlighted some of the attributes that made Russell “such a superb leader.”
“Dedicated, motivational, experienced, fit — all words used to describe Command Sgt. Maj. Russell in his tenure here,” Bohrer said. “In his 28 months here, he has trained, inspired and advised all the officers and NCOs in the brigade.”
Bohrer said Russell’s impact was seen every day as the brigade’s NCOs and officers trained the Army’s future engineers.
“(Russell) masterfully imparts the importance of our mission here to not only turn new volunteer citizens into engineer Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors, but to also ensure our team provides relevant and realistic training,” he said.
Under Russell’s leadership, Bohrer noted the brigade increased opportunities for its permanent party Soldiers to further develop.
“Whether coaching NCOs for boards, encouraging cadre to push for their senior or master instructor badges or providing opportunities for drill sergeants to pursue other certifications, Command Sgt. Maj. Russell has always put the good of others first,” Bohrer said.
Russell, who moves on to his next assignment in Atlanta, Georgia, as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ South Atlantic Division, thanked the brigade and Army Engineer Regiment Soldiers and civilians and said he feels “truly humbled to have been a part of this team here at Fort Leonard Wood.”
“I have been blessed to have been able to serve in such an awesome outfit and be a part of a phenomenal team of outstanding people and leaders,” Russell said. “I will truly miss my time here.”
Russell also welcomed Batchan back to the brigade — Batchan previously served in the 169th Engineer Battalion, where he was chief instructor for the Technical Engineer Skills Division.
“You’re a strength to the brigade, and I was excited to hear you were coming here to assume the role of the brigade CSM,” Russell said. “I know you’re the right person for the job, and you will continue to advocate for this team. You bring such phenomenal experience to the table. Your commitment and dedication to Soldiers and their families is top notch.”
Bohrer said he has tremendous confidence in Batchan, “as his reputation speaks for itself.”
“I look forward to seeing him help us further build on the success here as we bring our training and the brigade forward to 2030 and beyond,” Bohrer said. “You will, without a doubt, do great things here with this great team. I wish you and your family the best of luck and I look forward to working with you and hearing how we can help and improve the brigade and the regiment.”
Batchan, who comes to Fort Leonard Wood from his most recent assignment as the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion command sergeant major at Fort Hood, Texas, thanked everyone who has helped make the transition here smooth for him and his family and said he looks forward to “following in the footsteps of the many great leaders who have come before me.”
“I am truly honored and humbled to assume the position,” Batchan said. “We must continue to ensure the next generation of troops are well trained and prepared to face whatever obstacles the enemy throws at them, so they, too, can ensure the freedoms and welfare of this great nation remain untouched. I could not have chosen a better organization to do this with than with this premiere unit and its many great leaders, Soldiers and civilians.”
More photos from the ceremony are available on the Fort Leonard Wood Flickr page.