New commander takes reins of 108th Training Command

By Sgt. H. Marcus McGill | 81st Readiness Division | Feb. 11, 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Maj. Gen. Andrew Juknelis took the reins of the 108th Training Command, Initial Entry Training (IET), Feb. 8, 2020, during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Reserve Center here before Soldiers, friends, family and distinguished guests.

Maj. Gen. Kate Leahy relinquished command after approximately 16 months. Her next assignment is with the Department of the Army, G-2/Intelligence, at the Pentagon.

“This ceremony represents the pinnacle of career achievement for both the outgoing and the incoming commanders,” said Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve, who hosted the change of command. “It represents over 100 years of Army traditions. It is significant because it is a public demonstration of the continuity of leadership.”

Juknelis was assigned to the 108th TC (IET) after completing a successful assignment as the as the 8th Army, Republic of Korea wartime chief of staff. He said he was excited to move to the East Coast with his wife, Mei, where they will be closer to family, but also to tackle the challenges that his new command will offer.

“I am really anxious about the roll out of the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and also we need to get our drill sergeant ranks up for the Army. I’m pleased to dig in and be a part of this,” he said.

“The Army counts on the 108th, every Soldier and civilian on this team, to perform the essential mission of turning ordinary citizen volunteers into extraordinary Soldiers – the most competent, fit and resilient Soldiers in the world,” she said.

She boasted not only of her pride in the overall mission of the 108th, but in the accomplishments of individual Soldiers as well. Leahy mentioned Sgt. Joshua Smith, 1st Brigade, 95th Training Division, who was selected as the 2019 Army Reserve noncommissioned officer of the year, and Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft of the 98th Training Division, who is a 2012 Olympian and is a contender to become part of the 2020 Olympic pistol team.

Roper and Leahy both closed their remarks with some words of wisdom and advice for the new commander.

“Lead them well, be an example, and keep them safe. If you do those three things, you will be a successful commander,” Roper said.

Leahy directed her advice not just to her successor but to all Soldiers in attendance.

“Make every day count,” she said. “Make yourself stronger, better, make your unit more ready, help a fellow Soldier or a civilian coworker or Army family member. Make a difference, make every day matter.”

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