Fort Stewart’s Warrior Transition Battalion got a new commander during a change of command ceremony Friday morning at Marne Garden.
Outgoing commander Lt. Col. Rose Deck turned over command to Lt. Col. Michael Boyle.
Col. Kirk Eggleston, commander of Winn Army Community Hospital and U.S. Army Medical Command for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, served as the reviewing officer for the ceremony. Soldiers representing all four companies that make up the WTB took part in the ceremony. The 3rd ID band provided music for the ceremony along with a bugler for officer’s call.
Following the official ceremony, Eggleston gave remarks, followed by Deck and Boyle. Eggleston began by welcoming special guests and congratulating Deck for the job she did as WTB commander.
“I also want to congratulate Col. Deck, who, by this time tomorrow at Fort Jackson, should be promoted to full colonel,” Eggleston said. “Rose came to the WTB at a critical time when the unit was at its peak capacity with over 600 soldiers, then she deployed to Afghanistan.”
He said when Deck returned to Stewart, she developed a reputation for being a caring commander, but one who still enforced Army standards. Being wounded or injured was not a license to be a slack soldier in Deck’s battalion. He said more than 500 soldiers went through Stewart’s WTB while she was in command. Many of them were allowed to go back to duty, he said.
Eggleston summarized the history of how wounded American soldiers have been treated from the nation’s first war, the American Revolution, up to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He noted a medical-care scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007 led to the activation of the first WTBs.
Deck thanked a long list of those who had supported her during her two years as WTB commander. She admitted she still gets choked up when she talks about one of her soldiers, whom she referred to simply as “Sgt. Moore.”
“Sgt. Moore was confined to a wheelchair because of his injuries,” Deck said. “He came to me and asked if he would be allowed to stand at attention during his Purple Heart awards ceremony. ‘Of course,’ I told him. ‘Just let me know what I need to do to help. Do you want me to have an NCO stand on either side of you to help you stand up?’ He said ‘No, ma’am. I just want my therapist to stand with me.’ As you can see, I get choked up talking about it.”
Deck thanked her cadre and the doctors and medical-support teams who help wounded warriors help themselves.
Boyle repeated something Deck had noted, that WTB commanders have no medical background. Deck, for example, came from and administrative background.
“I’m an infantry officer by trade,” Boyle told reporters after the ceremony. “I’ve served in infantry leadership positions from platoon leader on up ... I know the WTB is going to be going through changes, just as the Army is going through changes right now. I’d like to tell you about some of those changes, but I don’t know what they’ll be.”
Boyle, who came to Stewart from Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe, said he’s excited about the challenges he faces as the WTB commander and looks forward to working with his staff and cadre.