Headquarters, 98th Training Division (IET) Changes Command

02/20/2013  |  By Master Sgt. Deborah P. Williams 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
The Griffon

Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, commanding general of the 108th Training Command (IET), presents out going commander Brig. Gen. Dwayne Edwards with the Meritorious Service Medal. Photo by Master Sgt. Deborah P. Williams, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ga. ­— Four brigades stood ready to conduct the time honored tradition of passing the Colors from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander in a Change of Command Ceremony held at the historic National Infantry Museum. Presiding over the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET).

The Adjutant began the ceremony by forming the command. Commander of Troops, Col. Bart E. Stovicek, escorted the reviewing party on an inspection of the troops. “Trooping of the Line”, dates back hundreds of years. It was used for the commander to review his/her troops’ condition and state of readiness prior to battle.

The review today is symbolic in that it allows the outgoing commander, 98th Division commander, Brig. Gen. Dwayne R. Edwards, one final review of the units and Soldiers he has commanded for the last two years. It is also significant for the incoming commander, Col.(P) Michaelene “Mikey” A. Kloster, her first opportunity to review the troops she is about to command.

In keeping with military tradition, Edwards passed the Colors, the symbol of the division’s identity, signifying change of command authority to the incoming commander, Kloster. The ceremony emphasizes the continuity of leadership and unit identity, and symbolizes the transfer of command responsibility from the departing commander to the arriving commander.

The Colors represent not only the heritage and history of the unit, but also the unity and loyalty of its Soldiers. The Colors are the commander’s symbol of authority, representing his/her responsibilities to the organization. Wherever the commander is, there also are the Colors.

“What a great day to be in the United States Army,” said Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET). “Today we observed a great tradition, a “Change of Command” between an incoming officer and outgoing commander, who over the past 30 months has done an absolutely tremendous job continuously moving forward in its mission of training the force, both initial military training and military training.”

Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, commanding general of the 108th Training Command (IET) passes the Colors to the incoming commander Col.(P) Michaelene “Mikey” A. Kloster during the 98th Training Division (IET) change of command ceremony. Kloster assumed command of the HQ, 98th Training Division (IET) from Brig. Gen. Dwayne R. Edwards on Dec. 1.Photo by Master Sgt. Deborah P. Williams, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

The 98th was established in 1918 in the closing months of WWI. Since 1959, the 98th has been a unit of the U.S. Army Reserve with the primary mission of training Soldiers in Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Noncommissioned Officer and Officer professional development courses, Reserve Officer Training Corps instruction and One Station Unit Training in Engineer and Infantry specialties.

Edwards has commanded at platoon, detachment, company and battalion level. “On behalf of the 108th Training Command, I want to thank you for your service and a job well done,” said Stall.

“The incoming commander has also demonstrated the qualities that I mentioned previously,” Stall continued. “As your commander, I would like to share with you what I would like you to focus on. I would like you to focus on leadership. The Army Values provide the basis of that leadership. Focus on mission accomplishment and the production of our drill sergeants, we must succeed in capturing the right people and the right training for the right place and right time.”

“Mikey, always focus on our Soldiers and our Families, develop an alternate environment that respects the rights of others and fosters professional growth and with those goals we always will be Army Strong,” concluded Stall.

Stall presented Edwards with the Meritorious Service Medal for his years of dedicated service to the 98th Training Division.

All the accomplishments in years to come, in my mind that is what this ceremony is really about,” said Edwards. ‘WOW’ what an amazing privilege. I knew when I took this assignment, that one day I would leave and on this beautiful Fort Benning day, this is that day. It has been such an extraordinary assignment that I ask your patience as I leave with just a few parting thoughts.”

“I can sum up the first part in just a few words, “WOW”, what an amazing privilege. I can say that my military career has been often and literally assisted by luck. I have been given the opportunity to share experiences with so many superbly capable and dedicated Soldiers and civilians who sacrifice so much, so often.”

“I ask that all the divisions give the new commander all the loyalty and tireless effort that I enjoyed during my tenure. After meeting her, I have even more respect for her, all her accomplishments, abilities and I am confident in the divisions continued success in her leadership.”

Kloster began her military career as a second lieutenant. She served on active duty, the Army Reserve and the National Guard. Her first duty assignment was in Rheinberg, Germany with the 54th Area Support Group as the Headquarters Company Commander. Kloster had many other assignments to include command of Headquarters Company, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas – the largest company in the U.S. Army.

The Army Change of Command Ceremonies is rich in military tradition and includes presentation of flowers to members of the outgoing commanders’ Family. Mrs. Heather Edwards, wife of Brig. Gen. Dwayne Edwards was presented a bouquet of red roses. Photo by Master Sgt. Deborah P. Williams, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

While assigned to the Delaware Army National Guard, after leaving active duty, Kloster served as the 35th Infantry Division Headquarters Commandant. Upon joining the Army Reserve, she was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as Battalion Commander of the 444th Personnel Service Battalion and subsequently served in the first rotation of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq. Her most recent assignment was commander, First Mobilization Support Group, at Fort Totten, N.Y., supporting the mobilization of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kloster is a graduate of the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Science in Management and a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration. Her awards include the Legion of Merit (OLC), the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (4th OLC), Army Achievement Medal (OLC), the Parachute Badge and Combat Action Badge

“Being the incoming commander, my speech today will stay very very short,” said Kloster. She thanked everyone for being there today for the ceremony and taking their weekend away from their Families. “I appreciate that and I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to command such a fabulous division with such a rich history in serving our nation,” said Kloster.

The headquarters division recently moved the Division Flag from Rochester, N.Y., after 45 years, here to Fort Benning, Ga., where it continues to exercise command and control over four brigades located throughout 12 states in the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico.

The 98th Division (IET) continues to deploy its Iroquois Warriors to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Jordan, Guantanamo Bay, and the Horn of Africa, as well as training thousands of deploying Reservists at Regional Training Centers.

After the ceremony, Kloster said in an interview, “It is really quite surreal, you work your whole career, especially as a female Soldier, and you do not think you will get a division command. It is absolutely an honor and it is really happened, so it is pretty exciting.”

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