By BG Gary Cheek, WTC Commander
Last week I went to Fort Stewart, GA, to attend the change of command ceremony for one of our great Warrior Transition Battalion commanders. LTC Jim Kanicki relinquished command to LTC Bill Reitemeyer on a breezy, sunny day at Marne Garden. In his remarks, Jim very eloquently summed up not only the mission of the battalion, but the mission of the Army’s overall Warrior Care and Transition Program. He said that his success as commander will be measured by how successful his assigned Soldiers are when they transition to the next phase of their lives—either returning to duty or integrating into civilian life. In that mission, Jim has indeed been very successful. His battalion transitioned close to 200 Soldiers during his tenure—basically a complete turnover—with 41 returning to active duty. And like all great leaders, he gets satisfaction when those who have moved on call him up to say they are doing well, and to thank him for what the battalion has done for them.
The Army measures its success too in terms of the success of transitioning Soldiers. To that end, we are putting in place the mechanisms that help Soldiers step with confidence into the next chapter of their lives. WTUs are in the process of implementing Comprehensive Transition Plans for all assigned Soldiers that provides a roadmap, with milestones, for personal and professional goals. We are also implementing education, employment, and internship opportunities that enable WTU Soldiers to maximize their rehabilitation period by acquiring new skills and knowledge for use after they leave the WTU. As the program matures, we will continue to add programs and features that set Soldiers up for success.
On behalf of the Army and our Warrior Care community, I want to thank LTC Jim Kanicki for his exceptional service, and wish him all the best as he takes command of the 1-228th Aviation Regiment in Honduras. At the same time, we heartily welcome LTC Bill Reitemeyer—a seasoned Veteran who has served with the 7th Special Forces Group and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. I know that Bill will build on the great success already achieved at Fort Stewart, and continue to serve our Soldiers, as Jim did, with accessibility, responsiveness, and compassion.