Salutes & Awards

June 27, 2014

309th MI Bn. gains new leader during June 20 ceremony

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Gabrielle Kuholski
Staff Writer

From left, Lt. Col. Erich Spragg, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion incoming battalion commander, Col. Richard Monnard, brigade commander, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade and Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, outgoing commander, return from performing the inspection of units during the battalion’s change of command ceremony June 20 on Chaffee Parade Field. The ceremony tradition evaluates the condition of the troops and their equipment.

In a well-attended ceremony by both Soldiers and Civilians, Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion outgoing commander, passed the guidon to Lt. Col. Erich Spragg, incoming commander, June 20 on Fort Huachuca’s Chaffee Parade Field.

In addition to the Soldiers on the field, about 50 Civilians filled the bleachers in the hot sun to later be acknowledged by Knapp in her remarks for their roles in introducing new course-ware, training scenarios, instructor training and field training exercises while promoting positive change.

Soon to experience his own change of command, Col. Richard Monnard, brigade commander, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, presided over the event. His remarks recognized Knapp’s accomplishments.

“Laura and her team really have made a difference, not only improving the cadre and the training of counterintelligence of HUMINT [Human Intelligence] Soldiers but taking care of Soldiers, establishing programs that build resiliency, trust and a warrior ethos,” Monnard said. “Lieutenant Colonel Knapp identified weaknesses across the organization and attacked them mercilessly. She also focused on existing strengths and magnified them.”

Despite Monnard’s list of accolades, Knapp expressed humility about her past two years of commanding the battalion.

Pictured left, Col. Richard Monnard, brigade commander, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, receives the guidon from Lt. Col. Laura Knapp, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion outgoing commander, during the battalion’s change of command ceremony June 20 on Chaffee Parade Field. The ceremony’s tradition has Monnard passing the guidon to Lt. Col. Erich Spragg, incoming battalion commander, pictured in the background.

“I’ve kept a daily gratitude journal for almost a year, and after reviewing it last night, some common themes jumped out at me,” she explained. “Over and over I wrote about my gratitude for the members of this battalion. … The officers, NCOs [noncommissioned officers], Soldiers and Civilians of this battalion have built my heart with joy daily. I am truly blessed.”

Knapp will begin the U.S. Army War College Cyber Fellowship next month in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

As a farewell was bid to the outgoing commander, Spragg, his wife and four children were welcomed to Fort Huachuca. The incoming commander’s previous assignment was serving the Army staff as the executive officer for the principal assistant deputy chief of staff, G-2.

“Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to learn even more about this great organization, this great team of teams, the key leaders and its mission,” Spragg said. “Based on this, I can honestly say that you have exceeded my expectation, which is a direct reflection on Lieutenant Colonel Knapp’s tremendous leadership over the past two years.”

In addition to passing the guidon, the 309th MI Bn. performed a presentation of the command and inspection of the units by Knapp, Monnard and Spragg. Soldiers of the battalion were also accompanied on the field by the Military Intelligence Corps Band and B Troop, 4th Regiment, U.S. Cavalry (Memorial). A receiving line and refreshments followed the ceremony.

The 309th MI Bn. was first activated in 1952 and over the years continued to inactivate and activate in California. The battalion was re-designated and activated within the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Huachuca in 1990. Its mission is to train, develop and educate Soldiers to conduct and lead counterintelligence, human intelligence and support operations while taking care of Soldiers, Civilians, and contractors and their Families.




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