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After serving for years in Europe in a joint command with other military branches, Maj. Gen. Allen W. Batschelet said he is happy to be working in the U.S. again as he stood on Brooks Field at Fort Knox.
“When you come back to an all-Army community, it’s like you’re coming back to family,” said Batschelet, who took charge of U.S. Army Recruiting Command from outgoing commander Maj. Gen. David L. Mann on Thursday during a change of command ceremony.
Batschelet spent time at Fort Knox in the late 1980s but had not returned to the post since. He said he was looking forward to living in the community and meeting new people while tackling his newfound role.
He now is in charge of 10,000 soldiers and 1,800 civilian employees and contractors, who work to recruit nearly 100,000 new soldiers for the Army each year.
“I am proud to join your ranks and look forward to facing the challenges of the future with you,” he told troops on the parade field
An Iowa State University graduate, Batschelet previously served as director of operations for U.S. European Command.
Batschelet said Recruiting Command will continue to function at a high level under his command and will look to be a solution for the Army as it seeks to downsize, believing quality soldiers can offset a loss in numbers.
During the ceremony, Batschelet said he has learned quickly how important Recruiting Command’s mission is to the fabric of the Army. Without it, he said, there would be no recruits and no basic trainees.
“In short, no soldiers, which means there’s no Army,” he said.
Mann leaves Fort Knox after leading Recruiting Command since February 2011. He thanked a number of those in attendance and extended his gratitude to the outside communities for loving Fort Knox and its soldiers.
Generals and Army leaders often get credit for what transpires under their command, Mann said, but he deferred to the men and women who serve under him. He said they have a strong grasp of Recruiting Command’s vision and mission and are in the trenches recruiting the highest quality applicants.
Mann said Recruiting Command has dealt with criticism from dejected parents and family members when individuals are turned down for recruitment, but the command is committed to finding the best because they only want to put in foxholes those who are ready for “prime time.”
His time at Fort Knox, he said, will be remembered as one of the most important assignments he has undertaken.
Lt. Gen. David D. Halverson, deputy commanding general and chief of staff of Army Training and Doctrine Command, described the change of command as a historic day.
“To us, it’s like a reunion with getting to see old friends,” he said.
He praised Mann’s service at Fort Knox and said he was right for the job because of his leadership, commitment to excellence and focus on soldier care.
Halverson said Mann adequately explained missions and prepared recruiters to meet them.
“We can’t repay you,” he said to Mann.
Mann said Batschelet’s resume speaks for itself. His service, he said, is heightened by his love for soldiers.
“We hope you come to love this community as much as we do,” he said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.