By Sgt. Christopher T. Sneed
21st Signal Brigade Public Affairs

"I stand here feeling very blessed, proud, and honored to be the commander of the mighty 114th Signal Battalion," remarked incoming Lt. Col. John Harris at a change of command ceremony for the 21st Signal Brigade's 114th Signal Battalion , June 23, at Fort Detrick's Blue and Gray Parade Field.

The 114th Signal Battalion provides strategic communications capabilities to the Department of Defense's highest echelons.

Additionally as the 114th Commander, he is in command of the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) which provides visual information support from the battlefield in its role as the U.S. Army's only Active Duty Combat Camera Company.

Colonel Karl Ginter, commander of the 21st Signal Brigade, spoke about Harris's capacity to lead the 114th Signal Battalion. "Lt. Col. Harris is absolutely the right person for this challenging job. He comes to us with a wide range of overseas and stateside experience, in combat and in peacetime, and he has served at every echelon of the Army."

Soldiers representing the units of the 114th Signal Battalion marched proudly in formation onto the Blue and Gray Field to the music of Army Material Command Band, directed by Chief Warrant Officer Peter Gillies.

As the outgoing and incoming commanders stood on the reviewing stand, Civil War Signaleer reenactors led by Dr. Audrey Scanlan-Teller and Mr. Kyle Wichtendahl used period correct signaling flags to signal a message to the commanders from one side of the parade field to the other.

In discussing her tenure as the outgoing commander of the 114th, Lt. Col. Kelly Knitter remarked, "We successfully deployed hundreds of Soldiers across the globe in support of training, wartime, and humanitarian relief missions with zero loss of life."

Not forgetting the contributions of the Soldiers and Civilians of the Battalion, she thanked them further, "for your commitment to duty, your courage in combat, your strength to endure all things, and your many sacrifices made while serving our country and defending our freedom."

As the operational climate of the War on Terror evolves, so have the challenges facing the war fighter and those who lead them.

Ginter reinforced this by saying that, "Through her caring, optimistic, and encouraging leadership style, [Knitter] developed a command climate with mission focus fostering innovation, and flexibility to solve complex problems while constantly taking care of her people during a period of time that really tested the limits of endurance of her organization."

Knitter is assuming the responsibilities as the Deputy Commander at the 21st Signal Brigade.

Photo by Pvt. Joshua Kruger
Colonel Karl Ginter (right) passes the 114th Signal Battalion guidon to Lt. Col. John K. Harris (left) during a change of command ceremony, June 23. The ceremony signifies the transfer the Battalion from Lt. Col. Kelly T. Knitter (center) to Harris.