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    Reflecting on hard work and readiness: Commander moves on from unit

    642nd Regional Support Group Military Ball

    Photo By Spc. Lucas Wenger | U.S. Army Wanda Hawley speaks at the 642nd Regional Support Group Military Ball in...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Gary Witte 

    642nd Regional Support Group

    U.S. Army Col. Wanda Hawley believes an extra bit of effort can result in big benefits to a unit.

    Hawley, who is stepping down this month as commander of the 642nd Regional Support Group, hopes her efforts will continue to benefit the troops who remain.

    “I am pleased,” she said of the unit’s progress. “I just wish I had more time to make a bigger difference.”

    The 642nd RSG change of command ceremony will take place Sunday, Feb. 25, in Decatur, Ga. There, Col. Jeffrey C. Rector will take charge of the Reserve unit, which oversees thousands of Soldiers in 28 subordinate commands throughout the southeastern United States.

    Hawley will leave to become the rear detachment commander for the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) while the headquarters will deploy overseas this year. The 143rd ESC is the largest sustainment command in the U.S. Army, with mission command of more than 10,000 Soldiers, civilians, and contractors across more than eight states in the southeastern United States.

    Born in the Bahamas and raised in Florida, she first joined the army through OCS after graduating from Barry University. She later earned her Masters of Business Administration from Touro International University and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

    “This is a great way to do something meaningful and see the world,” she said of the military, noting her first tour was in Germany. “I fell in love with the service that’s why I still serve today.”

    Her prior commands have included the 1179th Transportation Surface Brigade and the 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. She served in Afghanistan as commander to the 373rd Quartermaster Detachment. During her deployment to Iraq, she served as inspector general for the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

    Among her awards and badges are the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Combat Action Badge.

    When Hawley first arrived at the 642nd RSG in June, she knew she would only be there until a permanent commander was selected. Nonetheless, she set to work, determined to improve the unit’s readiness.

    She met with the commanders, first sergeants and unit administrators of subordinate units to discuss what they should achieve, how they should achieve it and then track the progress of their troops more easily.

    The units have focused on training and meeting requirements such as marksmanship, medical screenings and physical fitness tests, but it hasn’t all been work. In December, she had the Soldiers come together in Atlanta to hold a formal military ball with family members in attendance, replete with decorum, ceremony and dancing.

    “It’s always good to improve on esprit de corps,” Hawley said. “It was magnificent event that I think brought the unit closer together.”

    Noting the importance of Soldiers being prepared for deployments, she pointed to the inherent difficulty of keeping them ready all the time. One of her aims was to improve the unit’s preparation processes and was pleased that the numbers improved during the past year.

    “It’s difficult to keep Soldiers at a state of readiness for a long period,” Hawley said.

    For this reason, she advocates the “extra degree” outlook to help motivate Soldiers to make additional efforts in their work. In the prime illustration for this philosophy by Sam Parker, water is just hot at 211 degrees, but boils at 212 degrees.

    “That extra degree is that push you have to give when you’re tired, when you’re trying to do one more pushup or sit-up” Hawley said. “When you think you can’t do one more thing, just push yourself a little bit more to achieve a lot more.”

    Having often ended up in command when she did not expect it, she nonetheless finds the work satisfying because of the beneficial impact it can have on the lives of others.

    “It is truly rewarding,” she said. “I like the positive effect I can have on Soldiers and that I don’t have to be a Soldier but I get to be a Soldier”



    Date Taken: 02.23.2018
    Date Posted: 02.23.2018 21:10
    Story ID: 267076
    Location: DECATUR, GA, US
    Hometown: NEW BRITAIN, CT, US

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