Camp Blanding, Florida – U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 485th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) welcomed a new commander during a Change of Command Ceremony at Camp Blanding, Florida on November 17.
Lt. Col. Steven J. Knight of Charleston, South Carolina, assumed command of the Iroquois warrior battalion from Lt. Col. James Nelson of Saint Louis, Missouri
As Nelson, a distinguished military graduate from Lincoln University, looked out over his Army Reserve Soldiers for the last time, he thanked them for their hard work and told the audience just how dedicated they were.
“I see Soldiers who fought through two hurricanes and still managed to maintain our readiness and missions,” explained Nelson. “We had Soldiers who reported to Echo Missions just days before Hurricane Irma. They had to prepare their families and homes, and then leave them to report to Fort Jackson to accomplish the mission. They did so without complaining or asking for any special considerations! Many sustained significant damage to their homes, but still continued with the mission, and did it superbly. If that is not commitment, than I don’t know what is!”
The outgoing commander then reflected on when he first arrived at the battalion and just how drastically things had changed since then.
“I see a group of Soldiers who took us from number 19 of 19, dead last, in division readiness 18 months ago to the number one spot as of this week! I couldn’t think of a more fitting time to come out on top than that of my last few days in command!” Nelson said.
|LTC Steven J. Knight addresses the 2/485th Regt, 2nd BDE, 98 IN DIV for the first time as Battalion Commander at Camp Blanding Florida.|
With that, Nelson, whose next position is in division plans and operations, offered his Soldiers one last bit of advice before turning the ceremony over to his replacement, Knight, who holds to masters degrees from Wintop University.
“The Army is expanding in the near future and you will be called upon to meet those challenges. The active component can’t train the amount of Soldiers they need without us. So be ready!”
As Knight, whose last position was the deputy plans and operations officer for the 108th Training Command (IET), took the podium, he looked out over the formation of accomplished Soldiers and said he thought long and hard on what he could say to a force that was already at the top.
“I began to try and think of a theme or a focal point. So as I am walking through the post exchange, it was right in front of me on a coffee cup: live like you are going to deploy tomorrow,” Knight said.
That constant state of readiness is not, and will not be an easy task said Knight. However, easy or not, it is Knight’s second most important goal for his new battalion. The first goal of producing more drill sergeants, 18 to be exact, tied right back in with his predecessor’s statement on how the Army would be expanding.
Producing more drill sergeants and managing readiness across the battalion are not easy tasks, but they are the ultimate missions of our Army Reserve training battalion nonetheless, said Knight.
With the promise of more hard work, Knight said he wanted to let his Soldiers know he was on their side though. “I’m here to serve you and make you successful, so I’m available anytime you need me,” said the new commander.
Ultimately, to be successful, it cannot be all about work. Soldiers need time for fun and family.
“We must find balance with our time. As Soldiers, we are never going to spend the same quantity of time with our families, as our civilian counterparts,” explained Knight. “As all of you know, we are going to miss significant events. As Soldiers, we must make our time with our families of the highest quality, by maintaining high-quality family time, we will be ready to deploy tomorrow!”