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NEWS | June 1, 2018

88th Readiness Division commander wears two hats

By Catherine Carroll

Leading two separate, but associated, organizations calls for differing, yet complimentary, approaches to leadership. Major General Patrick Reinert serves as the 88th Readiness Division commanding general. He also serves as the Fort McCoy senior commander.


As 88th RD commander, Reinert directly leads his organization by making daily decisions in an effort to reach the organizations objectives. As a senior commander, Reinert takes a broader perspective.


“As a senior commander you provide overarching guidance and really let the garrison commander do his job,” said Reinert. “The garrison has to run itself, but I provide general direction on how the installation should run as well as ensuring the support provided at this installation is adequate to the broader Army and Department of Defense missions.”


Reinert, as senior commander, attended the Fort McCoy Garrison change of command on May 19. After two years as garrison commander of Fort McCoy, Col. David Pinter, who took command on March 11, 2016, handed the reins over to new Garrison Commander Col. Hui Chae Kim.


“It is a privilege to be a part of the Fort McCoy Team and have the honor of passing the torch at such a monumental time of change and accomplishment for the Fort McCoy Garrison Command and the Fort McCoy community as a whole,” Reinert said during his speech at the ceremony.


Kim will be responsible for day-to-day operation and management at the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. Kim will also represent the Army and the installation in the surrounding community, following in the footsteps of Pinter, who set the bar for success high.


“David Pinter’s strategic management and direction has lead us through two years of unprecedented change at Fort McCoy,” Reinert said, “and there is no sign of that slowing down. The expectations for this Total Force Training Center continue to grow every day.”


Before the ceremony, Reinert talked about what it takes to establish a successful foundation with the garrison commander. 


“A relationship of trust between the garrison commander and the senior commander is critical,” said Reinert. “If you can’t have a trusting relationship where they can execute their responsibilities within the senior commander’s intent, it will never work. So you have to work together as a team.


“The challenge of being a senior commander with subordinate commanders is always that you think you have an idea that you could do it better, you could do it a different way. The challenge is to resist the urge to micro manage. Resist the urge to tell them what to do and be directive and really let them learn by their own actions and experiences,” said Reinert.


When asked about his time working with Reinert, Pinter echoed the focus and sentiments of his senior commander, proving just how in sync they functioned.


“The key to any successful command is to ensure you have a strong relationship built on trust with the senior commander,” Pinter said. “When you have a senior commander like Maj. Gen. Reinert who’s an Army values based professional it makes it pretty simple to build on that cornerstone of trust and in turn keep those lines of communication open to ensure that you’re meeting his intent.


“Maintaining that strong relationship and then also making sure I’m meeting with his subordinates to ensure that those lines of communication are open between the garrison and that senior commander staff,” Pinter continued.


The 88th Readiness Division Headquarters, falling under Reinert’s other hat as commanding general, is a tenant unit on Fort McCoy, creating another layer of cooperation and coordination between the garrison commander and his senior commander.


“In a lot of cases these roles complement each other and at the same time there are separate lines of effort because the mission of the garrison to support the 88th, in this case as a tenant organization, so it can be challenging keeping the lines separate,” Pinter stated. “But the whole goal is to make sure my staff at the garrison is communicating with and working with the 88th staff.


“The 88th staff has a larger footprint, at the same time, they have equities on the installation that the garrison doesn’t have command and control of, but the 88th does,” Pinter continued, “so we maintain some of the facilities the 88th is responsible for in a joint effort to meet the intent of the 88th commander and the senior commander. It’s kind of a balance.”


Reinert said the best part of being a senior commander is allowing someone else to flourish and learn as they go.


“To see them build a team, see them make that team more successful and really do it on their own, that’s a great feeling,” Reinert said.


During Pinter’s two years, he has transitioned Fort McCoy into a four-seasons training center of excellence, receiving the Army Community of Excellence Award two years in a row, picked up the new mission to support Operation Cold Steel and Task Force Triad, with the Army Reserve's Operation Cold Steel I and II exercises hitting a high mark of more than 3,000 Soldiers trained in 2018, and significantly increasing community relations and partnership with the local, county and state elected officials resulting in an economic impact of more than 1.1 billion dollars annually.


“Colonel Pinter has, without a doubt, established the habit of excellence at Fort McCoy,” Reinert said during his speech. “As the baton is passed today to Col. Hui Chae Kim, we also pass on the legacy of excellence as well as the expectations of our future force.”


Kim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in logistics, mobilization, organizational management and his own personal legacy of excellence, having most recently served as Deputy Commander of the 303d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade with the 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii.


“The incoming commander will be fantastic,” Reinert said.  “And I look forward to the days ahead with Fort McCoy.”


Kim shared his feelings on becoming garrison commander following the ceremony.


“I am looking forward to building a great relationship and partnership, not only the workforce here, but all the tenant organizations, as well as Monroe County and the state of Wisconsin,” Kim said.


When asked about working with Pinter during the past two years, Reinert expressed genuine affection and spoke highly of their time together.


“My time with Col. Pinter has been awesome. Dave was a fantastic garrison commander. He’s one I could always trust with giving nuggets of ideas of things we might want to think about doing and see him take that and run with it,” Reinert said. “It has been great to see Fort McCoy’s growth under his leadership”

Pinter was equally as complimentary of his senior commander.


“I feel very blessed to have had Maj. Gen. Reinert as my senior commander,” Pinter stated. “I feel we have a strong relationship, a very professional relationship all the way around.”


Pinter will continue his relationship with the 88th RD in his next assignment as an 88th RD transformation officer, assisting in the ongoing transition from a Regional Support Command into a Readiness Division.