Fort Polk Guardian 06-16-2017

Vol. 44, No. 24 Published for the community of Fort Polk, La. June 16, 2017 Guardian Fort Polk Inside the Guardian Army birthday .......... 3 Israeli visitor ............. 6 MEDDAC CoC .............. 7 NCO/SOY .................... 8 FreedomFest ............ 10 BOSS bash ................ 12 Weekend weather Today Saturday Sunday 92 93 91 74 0% 20% 0% 75 74 Rain chance Rain chance Rain chance Fort Polk Army garrison gets new commander, CSM FORT POLK, La. — Col. Jarrett Thomas II and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson Jr. took the helm of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Polk dur- ing a change of command and re- sponsibility ceremony June 13 at Parkway Elementary School in Leesville. The duo replaced Col. David “Gregg” Athey and Command Sgt. Maj. David Pitt. Athey leaves for the Installation Management Command Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, while Pitt is headed to Fort Knox, Kentucky. Brenda Lee McCullough, director, IMCOM — Readiness, was guest speaker for the ceremony. In ad- dressing the outgoing commander, she said she realized the day was one of mixed emotions for Athey and his Family. “On one hand, command is one of the most awesome responsibili- ties one can experience and I am sure you want that experience to continue,” McCullough said. “On the other hand, you are heading into a new chapter in your lives and I’m certain that new opportunities and challenges will follow.” McCullough said commanding a garrison today is difficult and re- quires strong and inspiring leader- ship. “Gregg provided exceptional support to the senior commander, Brigadier General Gary Brito, while balancing the realities of a resource constrained environment,” she said. “Brigadier General Brito, thank you for the partnership that was forged on behalf of the Soldiers on this great installation.” Athey’s two years of command were marked by transformation, in- novation and challenges due to mil- itary and civilian drawdowns and fiscal constraints, McCullough said. She said Athey managed all chal- lenges through collaboration, strate- gic planning and partnerships that included the Joint Readiness Train- ing Center, civilian workforce, Ver- non Parish, Leesville and other sur- rounding community leaders, as well as Louisiana’s Congressional members. “Under Colonel Athey’s leader- ship the garrison developed a long- term strategic plan that is closely aligned to the Installation Manage- ment Command lines of effort and the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk campaign plan,” she said. McCullough pointed to other work led by Athey, including: • The Education Initiative that re- sulted in measureable and specific targets to increase academic per- formance, aptitude and opportuni- ties from early childhood through career-college paths. • Public-private partnerships be- tween Fort Polk and the surround- ing community that leveraged op- portunities to reduce costs, share services and increase efficiencies. McCullough then turned her comments to Thomas. “Colonel Thomas is a proven leader,” she said. “He is ideally suit- ed to lead the Fort Polk garrison team in supporting the priorities and requirements set by the senior commander and IMCOM priorities set by (IMCOM commander) Lieu- tenant General (Kenneth) Dahl.” By CHUCK CANNON Guardian editor Brenda Lee McCullough passes the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Polk colors to incoming commander Col. Jarrett Thomas II during a change of command ceremony at Parkway Elementary School in Leesville June 13. Thomas and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson replaced Col. David “Gregg” Athey and Command Sgt. Maj. David Pitt. Please see CoC , page 5 CHUCK CANNON / GUARDIAN