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Quartermaster brigade bids farewell during change of command ceremony

By Maj. Ebony Gay | 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment | July 9, 2018

Charleston, W. Va. — The 1st Brigade (Quartermaster), a down-trace unit of the 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment, gathered at the Maj. Gen. Charles C. Rogers U.S. Army Reserve Center to bid farewell to Col. John Dreska and welcome Col. John Joseph as the new brigade commander May 19, 2018, in a change of command ceremony.

For Dreska, a Troop Program Unit service member and a six-year Defense Logistics Agency/Maritime Division Chief for Army & Marine Corps Industrial Support staffer, his two year tenure begun with his eagerness to finally fulfill his goal of commanding a quartermaster brigade and concluded with outstanding achievements that enhanced 1st Brigade’s ability to train and generate mission-ready Soldiers. 

“We reclassified Soldiers in their Military Occupational Specialties. We train Soldiers in the Advanced Leader Course and the Senior Leader Course. These training elements paired with Soldier readiness, certified instructors, accreditation, and the brigade’s Army Program of Individual Training enabled us to deliver total force sustainment readiness,” said Dreska. 

Brig. Gen. Hector Lopez, 94th TD-FS commanding general, also highlighted Dreska’s ability to produce Soldiers capable of carrying out their perspective MOS during his remarks given at the change of command ceremony. 

“While there is no doubt that Col. Dreska made his unit and the Army more ready by driving increases in medical readiness, instructor certification, evaluations as well as planning, equipping, manning, and executing 489 classes for 10,638 students across four training locations, his most significant contributions were not things that could be captured by a metric or number,” said Lopez.

Aside from Dreska’s achievements being mentioned during his time commanding the 1st Brigade, Lopez stated that one of his greatest attributes is his masterful ability to build relations across the division’s chain of command and the Army. 

“John invested the time and built relationships resulting in unprecedented partnerships for instructor certification and accreditation,” said Lopez. 

Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Betty, the outgoing 1st Brigade command sergeant major who departed his position 24 hours after Dreska’s change of command shared his what enabled him and Dreska to succeed as a commander and CSM duo and what he’ll miss most about Dreska. 

“Placing the welfare of our Soldiers over the mission was essential in achieving an effective command. I will miss his leadership most. He is a smart man and has a story for everything, and if something had gone awry, he would say “sergeant major, refocus. We’ll get the mission done,” said Betty.

Betty continued as he expressed his optimism for Dreska and future endeavors for Dreska’s military career. “At the end of the day, he’s a great guy and a great leader. I can’t wait for him to get that one-star so I can be there to either pin it on him or celebrate with him.”

With the relinquishment of command authority passed from Dreska to Joseph, Dreska had a few words of wisdom to pass along to his successor from those who’ve given essential guidance throughout his military career. 1) Don’t do stupid things. (Safety), 2) Nobody said life is far…but we don’t have to be unfair to others. (Dignity and respect), 3) Don’t worry about your NCOER or OER…just do the right thing. (It will take care of itself), stay flexible and, don't be afraid to follow-up until you get the results you need to achieve the mission.

Upon Dreska’s relinquishment of command, Lopez took a moment to welcome Joseph to the 1st Brigade and informed him of his a few responsibilities on his new journey with his brigade. 

“Col. Joseph, welcome to the largest training division in the Army! You are coming to the 1st Brigade at the perfect time. Thanks to Col. Dreska you are inheriting an institution that been rebuilt and put on the correct path. It is now your responsibility to make sure this brigade completes its journey, ensuring that each student you train is ready in the event they are called upon to serve this nation is any environment, regardless of its stateside during peacetime or abroad in a combat zone,” said Lopez. 

Now that the 1st Brigade is under new leadership, Joseph, a 20-year Chief Strategy Officer for Transamerica Financial Network, shared his thoughts about embarking upon his very first brigade command assignment. “I feel pretty excited because over time I’ve had pretty good coaching and mentoring in my Army career to set the stage for my last two previous commands leading up to my brigade command,” said Joseph.

For Joseph, the transition process from his previous position as the Assistant Chief of Staff/ G8 Comptroller for the 75th Training Command to brigade commander was pretty seamless due to the guidance provided by Lopez and Dreska. 

“The transition to this command has been excellent because of the time I’ve spent with Col. Dreska and the division CG, Brig. Gen. Lopez. Because of those interactions and mentorship, I feel more prepared than ever to take brigade command because it is my heart’s desire to serve Soldiers,” said Joseph. 

Joseph went on to give his take on what he has in mind for initial objectives during his command tenure. Having read the division CG’s strategic plan, Joseph wants to ensure that he carries on with the gains made to 1st Brigade in previous years along with aiding with the personal and professional development of Soldiers. 

“I’ve read the strategic plan that the CG has in place for the division. I want to ensure the brigade continues its momentum upward and onward in supporting the mission and strategic vision for the command. I want to ensure that Soldiers feel empowered professionally and personally to continue to contribute to their development. They teach train and coach every day. My goal is to take the hard work put into the 1st Brigade in the last couple of years and continue to push that forward,” said Joseph.

Joseph feels that he gets the most satisfaction by still being in uniform serving his country and watching others thrive and lead purposeful lives. In regards to what will contribute to a successful command, Joseph stated that over the years he has acquired a lot of tools, tactics, and techniques as well as learned more and more about Soldier development, caring and nurturing professional relationships whether it’s in the military or civilian sector. It’s about helping every person achieve that next level of what their capability is and could be. Adding that sometimes you help Soldiers achieve things that they did not realize they could complete on their own. 

“I see my job as taking a look at who I’m surrounded by and empowering those individuals and work with them to continue to allow them to accomplish what it is they’ve set out to do. Aside from accomplishing mission objectives of the 1st Brigade and the 94th TD-FS, it is also a goal of mine to inquire about what are the Soldier’s personal and professional objectives, how do they grow their career and what impact do they want to make on the students that they teach…the Soldiers that they lead and try to help empower them to make a difference so that they can continue in their careers,” said Joseph. 

Finally, Joseph expressed his anticipation to move full steam ahead to see what the future will hold for the ongoing success of the 1st Brigade. “I’m excited to be here at 1st Brigade. I’m anxious to get going and have appreciated the transition opportunities until this point and am ready to continue the good work done already and push forward and see what we can do for the greater good,” said Joseph.