The Hunter Club was filled with Family Members and friends of Col. Leo Impavido, 6th Reserve Officers’ Training Corp Brigade commander, at the July 10 change of command ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield. The group was there to watch their friend and leader pass his mantle of authority to the new brigade commander, Col. Brent Barnes.
The ceremony was bittersweet for Col. Impavido, who took time at the podium to thank his staff individually for their support over the last two years as leaving would be difficult. He said they worked together to accomplish their mission — to recruit, train, develop and commission high quality Second Lieutenants for the U.S. Army and to motivate young people to become better citizens through Army ROTC programs in high schools.
The 6th ROTC Brigade consists of 39 senior ROTC battalions and 470 junior programs spread out across Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and also Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. With 101,000 junior ROTC cadets and 5,700 senior ROTC cadets, the 6th ROTC Brigade is the largest cadet population in the Cadet Command.
"Leo made a good organization great," said the U.S. Army Cadet Command Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith, who praised Col. Impavido in his remarks and for his accomplishments in the position. "He gained the admiration of cadets, cadre and senior leaders; he developed some of the best officers in the world."
Major General Smith also praised Col. Impavido’s late wife for her support to the battalion, along with his teenage sons, who are also ROTC cadets.
"Where ever you transition and whatever journey you take in life, that organization will be better served because you’re in it," Maj. Gen. Smith said.
Colonel Impavido welcomed his replacement before leaving the podium. He told those gathered, "Brent Barnes is a great leader and a natural fit for this position."
Colonel Barnes thanked his predecessor when he followed with his remarks, adding that he was elated to get the job. My leadership philosophy is simple, "if I take care of my staff, the mission will take care it itself."
Before coming to Hunter with his wife and daughter, Col. Barnes served as a professor in the National Security Affairs Department at the U.S. Naval War College. It’s his second tour with the U.S Cadet Command.