News: 2-44 ADA changes command
Story by Sgt. Leejay Lockhart
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), participated in a change of command ceremony Aug. 2 at the division parade field on Fort Campbell, Ky.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Jared J. Galazin, the outgoing battalion commander, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Timothy Shaffer, the incoming commander.
After the two leaders inspected the troops, the time came for Galazin to pass the battalion colors to Col. Edward O’Neill, commander of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and then O’Neill passed the colors to Shaffer. This act symbolized the responsibility for commanding the battalion passing from the outgoing commander to the incoming one.
Galazin led the battalion for nearly two years. He took command on Aug. 29, 2011, and worked hard to refocus the battalion on its air defense competencies after nearly a decade of nonstandard deployments.
In late July, Galazin traveled to Afghanistan to visit the deployed soldiers from Battery B, 2-44 ADA. He had an opportunity to see them in action with the counter rocket artillery mortar system.
As one of the first units in Afghanistan to use the C-RAM, those soldiers were helping defend Forward Operating Base Shank from rocket attacks. In their first week of operation, they had already started intercepting threats to the base. Witnessing the successful culmination of all the training was the highlight of his time in command said Galazin.
Although the unit is transition to a new leader, Galazin said Shaffer already has a history with the unit.
“We served here as lieutenants together in 2-44 ADA back in the ‘90s, in fact in the very same battery together,” said Galazin. “So it’s a real honor and privilege to be able to see his name on the list that he was going to be my replacement. There’s not a better guy I can think of to pass the mantle of responsibility for the battalion off to.”
Shaffer said he felt honored to take command of the battalion.
“It’s great to be back,” said Shaffer.
He expects to build upon the battalion’s successes.
“Lt. Col. Galazin and his command team have done a great job getting back to those core air defense tasks,” said Shaffer. “I want continue that and try to take that to the next step.”
That next step he said, is having the battalion permanently field the C-RAM system and develop the indirect fire protection capability offered by the weapon.
Then he said the following step would be to integrate the battalion’s air defense operations into the maneuver brigade's overall capabilities. Though he said a challenge will be doing those tasks while maintaining combat readiness in a time of limited resources.
However, Shaffer isn’t letting the future distract him from the present.
“Right now we have part of the battalion deployed to Afghanistan, so taking care of those families and those soldiers is always going to be priority number one,” said Shaffer.