The largest of five battalions in the 1st Brigade, 100th Division, the 5th Battalion-104th Regiment (Military Intelligence), held its change of command on the anniversary of a significant event in world history, the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On Saturday Lt. Col. (P) Robert Wilkinson relinquished command to Lt. Col. Richard Chmielewski, Jr. during a close-knit ceremony inside the Barnes Field House gym.
During his remarks, Wilkinson took a moment to reflect upon the “Day of Infamy.” He reminded the audience of the solemn events that transpired on that date.
Giving an emotional farewell speech, the outgoing commander then acknowledged the Army Reserve Soldiers in his unit by having the audience give them a round of applause. Describing them as “citizen Soldiers,” Wilkinson highlighted that in order to serve their country, they must volunteer their weekends and spare time and they, too, have Families and full-time jobs. He expressed the emotion he felt during his tenure as battalion commander.
“I am proud to say that it was indeed my sacred duty to lead the Soldiers of this battalion, and it was my privilege to serve you as commander,” he said.
As the ceremony progressed, Wilkinson elaborated on how going to war in 2001 changed the reserve component.
“The Army Reserve is no longer a strategic component of the Army that was held to a different standard,” he explained. “Today’s Army Reserve is an operational reserve partnered with the active Army on many different levels.”
During the awards portion of the change of command ceremony, Wilkinson received the Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership of the battalion.
Wilkinson’s promotion to colonel leads him to a new assignment. He will be the deputy chief of staff for intelligence (G-2), 311th Signal Command, at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
For the incoming commander, the ceremony was a “welcome back” event. Chmielewski’s past assignments brought him to Fort Huachuca as director of counterintelligence and human intelligence training, and executive officer of the 5th Bn.-104th Regt. His most recent assignment was G2 operations officer for the 351st Civil Affairs Command in Mountain View, Calif.
“I am honored and excited to have this opportunity to work with this unit once again,” Chmielewski said. “[Lieutenant Colonel Wilkinson] strove to make this unit more professional and encouraged the Soldiers to exemplify the Army’s values. I’d like to express my personal gratitude for his mentorship and for accepting me into the unit as a major when he had no idea about me.”
The change of command was the first of changes the unit will see in the future. The first major change comes in the fall of 2014, when the 1st Bde. will move to this installation from Fort Devens, Mass. Reserve component military intelligence courses will also relocate here as part of the new One Army School System.
“The next couple of years will be challenging with personnel changes and the movement of the brigade and the battalion to its new location here at Fort Huachuca,” Chmielewski continued.
Col. Kevin Wulfhorst, commander of the 1st Military Intelligence Brigade, 100th Division offered his remarks, expanding upon the unit’s challenges and mission. He explained the importance of maintaining their levels of proficiency to the military intelligence Soldiers.
“To support this increased emphasis on sustaining military intelligence capabilities, it is critical that military intelligence professionals, both active and reserve component, maintain their relevant skills and competency though effective and direct exposure to professional development resources and tailored hands-on training,” Wulfhorst said.
Welcoming Chmielewski back to the battalion, he added, “I challenge him to use the resources of the battalion to develop creative solutions to the training of MI analysts for a complex and uncertain future.”