June 14, 2012

309th MI Bn. welcomes new commander, bids farewell to old

Story and photo by Jennifer Lindquist
Special to the Scout

(From left) Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, incoming commander, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion; Col. Angelia Farnell, 111th MI Brigade commander; and Lt. Col. Robert Schulte, outgoing 309th MI Bn. commander, inspect the troops during the June 7 change of command ceremony on Chaffee Parade Field.

The 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, 62nd Army Band and B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial) helped usher in a new battalion commander while bidding farewell to the outgoing leader during the 309th MI Bn. Change of Command Ceremony, June 7 on Fort Huachuca’s Chaffee Parade Field.

Incoming Commander, Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, accepted the guidon and the responsibility of the battalion from Lt. Col. Robert Schulte who had led the unit for two years.

Col. Angelia Farnell, 111 MI Brigade commander, presided over the ceremony.

“Lieutenant Colonel Schulte is caring and always looking for ways to improve not only his battalion, but also himself. He didn’t do any of this alone. He did it with the help of the leaders standing before you but most importantly with the help of his beautiful family,” said Farnell.

Reviewing officer, Col. Angelia Farnell, commander, 111 Military Intelligence Brigade (right), presents the guidon to Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, incoming commander, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, during the change of command ceremony. Passing the guidon symbolizes the transfer of command of a military unit, and the incoming commander formally accepts the leadership role when taking possession of the guidon.

During his two years at Fort Huachuca, Schulte reduced the training and finishing rates of the battalion to improve the quality of graduating Soldiers. During this training, he ensured all equipment was up-to-date and battle ready. He also implemented training programs to aid deploying units.

Schulte expressed gratitude for the trainers, contractors and civilians in the battalion for their work training human intelligence officers and preparing other Soldiers for deployment.

“It is a team effort that proves that greatness comes from the whole, not just from the individual effort,” stated Schulte in his closing remarks.

Schulte, his wife Janel Eckert and their two boys, Chase and Riley, are moving to Washington D.C. as part of his assignment to work at the Pentagon.

According to Farnell, his leadership and devotion to the unit will be missed.

“He has taken this battalion to great heights, training and developing human intelligence professionals and leaders of the future,” said Farnell.

Farnell welcomed Knapp warmly.

“Lt. Col Knapp who is no stranger to this brigade — welcome back. You are embarking on a great adventure. The road will be bumpy at times, sometimes very bumpy … but you are going to the most rewarding job that you’ll ever have.”

Knapp comes to Fort Huachuca from Fort Bragg where she served as the chief of the XVIII Airborne Corps Commander’s Initiative Group. This is her second time she is stationed at Fort Huachuca. During her first time at the fort she monitored ground sensors as an assistant Training and Doctrine Command capability manager before she became an operations officer with the 309th MI Bn.

“It is humbling and exciting to take command of this great organization, and I am ready to get to work,” remarked Knapp.

Before relinquishing command, Schulte offered Knapp one last bit of advice, “Always remember you have what it takes, and we know you will take the battalion to the next level. Congratulations, have fun, and we will always be there for you.”

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