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    Ordnance Brigade in Indiana Welcomes New Commander

    Ordnance Brigade in Indiana Welcomes New Commander

    Photo By Maj. Ebony Gay | Brig. Gen. Stephen Iacovelli, 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment commanding...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Ebony Gay 

    94th Training Division-Force Sustainment

    Indianapolis, IN. – The 3rd Brigade (Ordnance), a down-trace unit of the 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment, gathered at the Fort Benjamin Harris Army Reserve Center to bid farewell to Col. Gary Holben and welcomed Col. Harold Turks as the new brigade commander April 27, 2019, in a change of command ceremony.

    Holben is a Troop Program Unit service member and an Operations Administrator for the State Medical Board of Ohio. Tasked with fulfilling the brigade’s mission of training Active Duty, Army Reserve and National Guard Ordnance Soldiers, Holben used more than 20-years of military service and his completion of two battalion commands and two brigade commands totaling more than seven years of consecutive command time in previous years to aid him with the successful leadership of 3rd Brigade.

    For Holben, his strategy to achieving success while in command consists of five components. “I am focused on five different items, leadership, training, Soldier care, logic, and safety”, said Holben. “Those are the five lines of effort-the command emphasis items that I use.”

    “Some of the other secrets of our success that I’ve used that are focused on the five command efforts that I previously mentioned (leadership, training, Soldier care, logic, and safety) combined with the unit’s ordnance traditions, the Non-commissioned Officer Corps, and our focus on excelling from good to great is what I believe enabled us to succeed”, said Holben.

    Although Holben has gained a vast amount of command time during his military career, a command tenure still poses challenges. Holben provided insight on some of his challenges while commanding the 3rd Brigade. “Getting to know everybody and raising their level of performance can be difficult,” said Holben. “We have a lot of good Soldiers. Can we take them from good to great? Can we take the average performer from average to above average? For me, leadership is the biggest challenge.”

    For Holben, his completion of command of the 3rd Brigade is bittersweet as he expressed what he’ll miss most about his tenure with the unit. “Taking care of all the Soldiers is what I’ll miss. It’s about Soldier care, getting to know people, and getting to know about their personal lives,” said Holben. “Enhancing Soldiers skills and watching them grow during their military career is another aspect of my command that will be miss.”

    Holben shared a few things that he believe will aid is successor during his tenure. “With 11 units reporting directly to our brigade, it is important to get to know all of the Soldiers and visit all of the subordinate units”, said Holben. “If you focus on three to five key items, you can be successful.”

    Holben went on by expressing his gratitude to those who’ve contributed to his success while in command. “The people that have aided with my success are my wife and family, Brig. Gen. Stephen Iacovelli, the 94th TD-FS commanding general, my battalion command teams, my Regional Training Sites for Maintenance command teams, my brigade staff, and my close partnership with Command Sgt. Maj. Brain Schlatter, 3rd Brigade command sergeant major”, said Holben. “My experience in the military has been great, and I wish I could serve my country full-time.”

    Schlatter is a TPU service member who serves as an Assistant Environmental Management Service Chief, provided insight about his experience having worked so closely with Holben and playing an essential role in carrying out 3rd Brigade’s mission. “We communicated a lot, and he was hands-on with the staff,” said Schlatter. “Col. Holben ensured that the staff and the command teams executed their tasks. He left the metric to me, and I worked that with the NCOs and the sergeant majors. It was a two-part approach to our leadership. Col. Holben more so tackled the officer side of the house where he ensured the staff provided everything that the down trace commanders needed while I ensured that the battalion sergeant majors was getting out to the Soldiers ensure we were meeting our quotas and training requirements.”

    Schlatter continued as he shared what he believes was him and Holben’s most significant milestone together while leading 3rd Brigade “Being tasked to standing up and run the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle training center mission at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin was our biggest accomplishment,” said Schlatter. “We felt that it was a major milestone and a huge achievement and was honored that there was confidence in our brigade's ability to take on a mission of this magnitude.”

    Finally, Schlatter stated vital takeaways that he has gained from Holben that will help guide him during his military career. “It is vital that you try to ensure that you get all of the facts, don’t be too quick to jump to any conclusions, and consult with other people,” said Schlatter. “Col. Holben was my calming factor during our time in command together. He would remind me to slow down and discuss any trying situation that aroused. He took the time to help me evaluate various circumstances and assess possible scenarios and outcomes before making a final decision.”

    With the relinquishment of 3rd Brigade, Col. Harold Turks, a TPU service member and a Lieutenant at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department, will inherit a brigade consisting of more than 500 Soldiers spread-out over 20 states and 35 different cities. With the brigade composed of nine subordinate units, five training battalions, four RTSMs, and a headquarters company, Turks shared how he felt entering his first brigade command.

    “At first, I felt a little overwhelmed because there’s a lot of information and various components to the unit, but if you’re in the military, these are things that you look forward to,” said Turks. “You look forward to being a commander and leading troops. I think my command time is going to be pretty good. It’s a unique unit, and it’s different from my previous commands.”

    With more than 29-years of military service and three battalion commands, Turks explained what he has learned during his time in service that will aid him with his new command tenure. “In addition to my battalion command time, I’ve served in on division G4 staff on two occasions and attended the National War College where I developed an understanding for strategic planning”, said Turks. “I think for this particular brigade in regards to the training we provide and how we train, we fall directly in line with what the Army leadership has set as their priorities. Army priorities include Soldier readiness and force modernization. This brigade, especially the 94th, is the tip of the sphere.

    Turks concluded with his initial objectives for the brigade. “I want to continue to keep the professionalism that the Soldiers have exhibited thus far in regards to the manner that our instructor teaches Soldier,” said Turks. “A lot of times when a Soldier comes across an instructor, it’s their first interaction with an instructor in their military occupational specialty. When an instructor is in front of Soldiers, teaching them their skill set, the Soldier sees that professionalism. I think that’s one of the things we have to keep in mind. We have to understand that we are the tip of the sphere in regards to professionalism and how we accomplish the mission.”



    Date Taken: 07.09.2019
    Date Posted: 07.12.2019 19:24
    Story ID: 331213
    Location: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US 
    Hometown: COLUMBUS, OH, US
    Hometown: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
    Hometown: NASHVILLE, TN, US

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