Unique Army marketing brigade welcomes new commander
Col. Karen Rutka (left) accepts the colors of the U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade from U.S. Army Recruiting Command and Fort Knox Commander Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis on Fort Knox’s Flagg Field July 7, 2023, symbolizing her assumption of command of the unit. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, USAMEB Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. — The U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade (USAMEB) at Fort Knox bid farewell on July 7 to Col. Stephen Battle and welcomed Col. Karen Rutka to command one of the Army’s most unique brigades.

Rutka takes the reins at USAMEB after a year-long fellowship at the University of Louisville. Part of U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), taking command of USAMEB is something of a homecoming for the Alaska native who previously had served as the operations officer at USAREC Headquarters.

Commander of USAREC Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis hosted the ceremony, passing the unit colors to Rutka, symbolizing her assumption of command.

Davis lauded both commanders.

During Battle's tenure, USAMEB significantly impacted the recruiting mission while generating hundreds of thousands of leads, according to Davis.

“Steve’s focus was unique. He was responsible for supporting our recruiters everywhere around the world. You stepped into command and addressed a wide mission set,” Davis said. “I appreciate your work to connect our Army with the nation.”

Davis then turned to Rutka.

“You are going to tackle one of the Army’s most strategic and important missions,” said Davis. “We’re so glad to have you back; you and your family. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

In his remarks, Battle highlighted the brigade’s accomplishments in reaching millions of Americans with the Army message. That success, according to the outgoing commander, was due to innovations like the launch of a recruiting operations company with the Army Warrior Fitness Team, Army Outdoor team complete with a bass boat, the Army “As You Were Band,” and Army eSports.

Longtime Mission Support Battalion assets like the National Conventions Division and Mobile Exhibit Company continually crisscross America, putting the Army in a positive light across the country. The brigade also includes the Army Parachute Team “Golden Knights” based at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, and the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Moore, Georgia.

“To say that this is the best job ever is an understatement,” Battle said. “It is an astonishingly amazing time with an astonishingly amazing group of people. Through their actions, words and examples, this team of teams effectively communicates to the American people, generates interest and informs young Americans, individuals and organizations about what it means to be in the Army.

“Every day you impress people, and it shows.”

Battle moves to an assignment in Chicago at the Army Enterprise Marketing Office.

Rutka directed her remarks first to Battle.

“I’m so grateful for you handing off this one-of-a-kind brigade,” Rutka said.

She then addressed her battalion commanders, standing on Flagg Field awaiting her commands.

“You are the Army’s maneuver element for marketing,” Rutka said. “Every day you execute at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. I know the Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade will continue to crush it.”