JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST (June 12 2011) - The reins of the 1st Battalion, 417th Basic Combat Training Regiment were handed to its new commander at a change-of-command ceremony held at Sharpe Field.

Family members and Soldiers welcomed the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Alan E. Zentar, who accepted the colors from Col. Daniel Reid, brigade commander, 3rd Brigade, 98th Division.

Outgoing interim commander, Maj. Stephen Vile, took command when the former commander, Col. Bean Desibio, had to move on to his new assignment at the 75th Infantry Division here.

Vile will remain with the 1/417th as the executive officer.

“Command is a very unique opportunity that very few officers get,” Reid remarked. “It is one of the most important elements in our Army.”

Expanding on the role of command, Reid talked about the importance of leaders.

“Our Army success is totally dependent upon the quality of our leaders,” commented Reid.

Throughout the 236 years of the Army history the one thing that has not changed is the role of the Drill Sergeant. Part of that role is to create the leaders of the future and that is what the 1/417 specializes at.

This leader development usually begins as soon as the recruit gets greeted by its “welcoming committee” at basic training.

Remembering his own first welcoming committee Zentar, paid tribute to the Soldiers who helped him become Army Strong!

“DS Dennis, DS Hurd, DS Mayhu, 1SG Smith, LTC Traegman, were, for a lack of better description my ‘welcoming committee’ at basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma,” he explained.

Even through long retired, these drill sergeants still have a lasting impact on Zentar.

Zentar, a field artillery officer and a native of New Jersey, comes to the 1/417th after serving as the deputy commander for the Defense Logistics Agency Support Teams in Baghdad while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

His previous assignments include an instructor at the United States Military Academy, commonly known as West Point; deputy exercise branch chief, 3rd Simulation Exercise Group and future plans officer for Mobilization Assistance Team Operations for the 1st BDE, 78th Division.

His civilian education includes a bachelor of science in commerce from Rider University and a master of science in organizational management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Zentar’s awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), the Overseas Service Ribbon (3 OLC), Parachutist Badge and Ranger tab.