News: AWG welcomes new commanding officer
Story by Lt. Col. Sonise Lumbaca
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – Members of the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group bid farewell to their outgoing commander, Col. Patrick J. Mahaney Jr., and welcomed their new commander, Col. John P. Petkosek at a change of command ceremony held Aug. 22 here.
Presiding over the event on behalf of Gen. Robert W. Cone, the Training and Doctrine commanding general, was Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker, the deputy commanding general- Futures and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be here to preside over an Army tradition, a change of command of responsibilities from one outstanding leader to another,” Walker said. “And we are truly blessed to have such dedicated and talented leaders as Pat Mahaney and John Petkosek and their families.”
Walker added that the Army profession remains strong because of leaders like Mahaney and Petkosek, “Who never fail to shoulder the great responsibilities of commanding soldiers and leading the Army.”
Mahaney, who commanded the AWG since July 2011, began his service as a Cavalry Scout in the New York Army National Guard in 1983 and was later commissioned as a Military Policeman from Fordham University ROTC after graduating from New York University. He began his Special Forces career in 1994. His assignments included 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Joint Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. He has Master’s Degrees in International Relations from Columbia University and the University of Perugia, Italy.
“[Mahaney was] the man who ensured that the Asymmetric Warfare Group was clearly focused to provide the operational advisory assistance and solution development for our combat leaders; and this enhanced combat effectiveness directly led to saving soldiers’ lives,” Walker said.
During Mahaney’s tenure, the AWG continued provide operational advisory support to include embedding with various units deployed to locations that include Africa, South West and South East Asia, South America, Australia, and various other locations. Additionally, development of solutions to friendly capability gaps and mitigation of enemy tactic, techniques and procedures occurred, to included pre-deployment advisory support, security force assistance, subterranean operations, tactical mobility, daptability and resiliency programs, jungle operations training support, interagency collaboration and various other ongoing initiatives.
Manahey is headed New York City where he will serve as a Senior Army Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations.
“Col. John Petkosek comes to us with a tremendous background from tactical to strategic level,” said Walker. “He brings an exceptional set of operational experiences needed to lead the Asymmetric Warfare Group in support of our soldiers and our Army as we transition from an Army at war to an Army preparing for war.”
Petkosek, who holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from The Citadel, was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1988. His previous assignments included a variety of infantry units to include 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment in the 2nd Infantry Division; 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas and Vilseck, Germany respectively.
Other previous assignments included 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment; the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Chaffee, Ark; and the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. Following his command of 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, he was assigned to the Pentagon where he served as the Military Assistant and later Chief of Initiatives Group for the Secretary of the Army.
Most recently, Petkosek graduated from the Senior Service College at The Royal College of Defence Studies, London, England. Petkosek also holds and a Masters in International Relations from Troy State University.
In his closing remarks to the members of the AWG, Mahaney lauded the unit’s past, ongoing and future efforts.
“You are a magnificent unit made up of the most remarkable individuals. I know you will continue to use your talents, experience and drive to stay focused on enhancing our forces’ survivability and effectiveness; lethally and non-lethally,” Mahaney said. “And you will conduct your essential professional business guided by the three simple word of the Group’s motto; Think. Adapt. Anticipate!”
Petkosek, who thanked Mahaney for one of the smoothest transition and warmest welcome to the unit, anticipates the experience in leading members of the AWG.
“To the members of the AWG, your reputation preceded you; I am in awe of what you have accomplished and am looking forward to facing the challenges of the future together,” he concluded.
The AWG provides Operational Advisory and Solution Development support globally to the Army and Joint Force Commanders to enhance soldier survivability and combat effectiveness, and enable the defeat of current and emerging threats in support of Unified Land Operations. It is the operational arm to TRADOC.