Local guard has change of command
Posted: December 3, 2012
The Winchester Star
Winchester — Command of the Virginia Army National Guard’s Winchester-based Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team changed hands Saturday.
Lt. Col. Paul Gilman passed command of the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center at 181 Pendleton Drive in Frederick County to Lt. Col. Erik Gordon in a ceremony attended by their families, visiting military officials, and about 200 soldiers in the battalion.
Before introducing Gilman to offer his farewell to the crowd, Col. John Epperly, brigade commander, noted that there were soldiers present to represent the Headquarters, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Fox companies. Another 550 soldiers from across Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley were drilling Saturday.
“This is the first time in 10 years we have had the entire brigade back on American soil at the same time,” Epperly said.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, nearly 15,000 Virginia National Guard soldiers and airmen have mobilized for federal active duty for homeland security missions and overseas duty.
Epperly highlighted some of the tasks accomplished by the 116th under Gilman, including almost 200 soldiers being mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
Soldiers from the battalion also participated in emergency response operations for severe weather situations, offering support during derecho storms in June and Hurricane Sandy in October.
Gilman said he will miss the camaraderie of the soldiers he has served with since he assumed command in May 2010.
“When I got here, I knew two guys in the entire battalion, but I have some pretty deep relationships after two-and-a-half years,” said Gilman of Richmond.
Gilman, who has a full-time job at Capital One, is being transferred to Staunton, where he will be assigned as the 116th Infantry Brigade’s executive officer.
As part of the ceremony, Gilman was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal. His soldiers also gave him the battalion colors with the six company flags framed.
Coming into the post, Gordon said his main focus will be on live-fire training, which are exercises that simulate realistic combat situations.
Gordon learned in March that he was taking command of the brigade and said he was “elated and excited.” The job is a weekend position. He also is a full-time guardsman who works as chief of operations at the 29th Division Headquarters at Ft. Belvoir.
Gordon began his military career in October 1990 as an infantry soldier in the Virginia Army National Guard, and he earned his commission in 1993 through the Virginia Guard Officer Candidate School.
He has served as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader, company executive officer and company commander. He also has been deployed overseas on active duty three times — Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
The Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center is name for Staff Sgt. Craig W. Cherry and Sgt. Bobby E. Beasley, two Virginia Army National Guard soldiers who were killed in the line of duty in 2004 while serving in Afghanistan.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org