News: AWG welcomes new operational squadron commander
Story by Maj. Sonise Lumbaca
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – Members of the U. S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group conducted a change of command ceremony on Dec. 19 for Able Squadron, one of the unit’s Operational Squadrons.
What is unique about the change of command ceremony is that the incoming commander, Lt. Col. John Walton, is the younger brother of the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Frank Walton. Both have had a similar military career path that eventually resulted in them serving together with the AWG.
Presiding over the change of command ceremony was the commander of the AWG, Col. Patrick J. Mahaney Jr.
“In 25 years of my career, I have never seen anything like it, two officers—brothers— on the command select list for the same command; one handing off the command to the other,” Mahaney said. “It sounds like something from the Civil War, but extremely rare in today’s age of the centrally managed command slating.”
“To Frank, your professionalism was magnificent and your performance exceptional,” Mahaney said.
Mahaney equally provided accolades to John, given that the younger Walton had already served with the AWG as the Future Operations Chief and a Troop Commander.
“The Army did the right thing, and kept you right here, to not only follow in your brother’s footsteps, but to take you brother’s successful ‘good to great’ effort to the next level,” Mahaney said. “And we all look forward to the remarkable things that you will do while here in command of this magnificent squadron.”
Both brothers, originally from Pine Bush, N.Y., began their careers the same. They received a Bachelor's of Science in Management from the U.S. Military Academy and were commissioned as infantry officers. From there, their infantry careers took them on separate paths.
Frank went on to serve with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.; the 17th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska; and the 501st Infantry Battalion at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He later in his career was assigned to his alma mater where he earned a Master's degree from Long Island University in Leadership Development. Prior to taking command of Able Squadron with the AWG, he served as a troop commander with the unit. His deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom.
John served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.; 32nd Infantry Regiment at Fort Drum; the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga.; and with I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash. His deployments include Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
Both have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and while serving with the AWG, deployed members of their units globally.
As incoming commanders traditionally do, John provided brief remarks thanking Mahaney for the opportunity to command and looks forward to following in his brother’s footsteps.
During his farewell remarks, Frank thanked Mahaney for the opportunity to command, but also for the latitude he provides his commanders “to lead and make decision.” Looking into his brother’s eyes, he concluded his remarks with a short but powerful message for his younger brother.
“Brothers by blood, friends by choice,” Frank said.
The U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group 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.