BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Lt. Col. Stephen G. Harlan relieves Lt. Col. Timothy B. Smith as commanding officer of the 314th Press Camp Headquarters during a change of command ceremony held at the Hilton Doubletree hotel, here Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.
Prior to commanding the 314th PCH, Smith had no public affairs experience much less did he know the ins-and-outs of commanding such units. Now, three years later, Smith is walking away with a greater understanding of the public affairs mission.
“I’ve been in the Army for a little over 30 years,” said Smith, “and this is the best job I’ve had so far. It gives you a totally different view of the Army, of things you never seen before. You see how your actions can affect things and you learn just how important that is. That’s something I’ll take with me as I move forward in my career.”
Brig. Gen. Douglas Satterfield, the deputy commanding general of the 412th TEC and the officiator over the ceremony, feels that during his tenure as commander of the 314th PCH, Smith has been extraordinarily creative in conducting training exercises that involved working with large numbers of people overseas with senior Army commands, while continuing to improve his unit and make them better.
Today, Harlan, a military technician working as the command historian for the 99th Regional Support Command at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. takes command of the 314th PCH, 412th Theater Engineer Command, and will command along side with Command Sergeant Major Christopher Luchsinger.
“Lt. Col. Harlan is a PA professional and he brings a lot to the table with his public affairs skills,” said Smith, “and I think he’s going to do a lot for the unit and help take them to the next level.”
Lt. Col. Harlan said that stepping into a command position is much different than being a staff public affairs officer, as he previously held both positions.
“Serving in a staff position gave me a sense of the larger strategic messaging picture from the U.S. Army Reserve Command and Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve,” said Harlan.
His previous command was at the company level. In combination, he feels he has the command background and the staff background to understand how a battalion level unit should operate.
“Philosophers say that ‘the only thing that is constant is change’,” Harlan said, “Lt. Col. Smith has built such a wonderful foundation that there will not be much change that I have to look into, only enhancements.”
Satterfield tasks the incoming commander to the same standards as the outgoing commander, in that he must maintain the same level of independence, achieve quality recruiting, and ensure that all of his soldiers are fully ready for deployment.
“The 314th PCH has been a shining light in helping the 412th TEC move forward,” Satterfield said, “and I want everyone to know that they are a key part of that.”