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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2018

New Jersey natives lead state’s senior U.S. Army Reserve unit toward readiness

By Army Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

When the state’s senior U.S. Army Reserve unit changed hands Dec. 16, it passed from one Garden State native to another.

Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok relinquished command of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division to Maj. Gen. Mark. W. Palzer during a change-of-command ceremony at Doughboy Gym here.

“I grew up 15 minutes from here,” said Kok, a native of the Allentown area. “This has been, by far, the greatest assignment of my 36-year career.”

“It took me only 20 years in the Army Reserve to make it where I could commute to work, joked Palzer, a resident of Jackson Township.

The ceremony was officiated by Maj. Gen. Scottie D. Carpenter, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command.

“There’s just so much you could say about these two folks,” Carpenter said. “Maj. Gen. Palzer is one of our most senior commanders, and is the head of our transformation team. Maj. Gen. Kok has never had a time when he hasn’t been enthusiastic about everything that he does.”

For his new assignment, Kok has been chosen to command the U.S. Army Reserve Accessions Task Force with the mission of helping the Army Reserve meet its end-strength personnel goals in order to remain the most capable, combat-ready and lethal federal reserve force in the nation’s history. This new task force will be headquartered at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

As commanding general of the 99th DIV(R), Palzer is responsible for administrative, logistics and facilities support to more than 42,000 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers across a region spanning the 13 northeastern states. He also serves as the senior commander of Army Support Activity-Fort Dix and U.S. Army Base Fort Devens Training Facilities and Training Support in Massachusetts.

“As our nation faces increasingly more lethal adversaries on the battlefield, readiness of our personnel and our organizations becomes critical,” said Palzer, a distinguished military graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. “We can only bring the 99th to greater heights because we stand on the shoulders of those before.

“To all of you, I pledge my undying love as well as my everlasting commitment to making this organization and the United States Army Reserve a better organization as we continue to grow and continue to build for the future,” he added.

The 99th DIV(R) is headquartered on JB MDL, which is the second-largest employer in New Jersey, second only to the state government. More than 40,000 active-duty and reserve-component service members, civilian employees and family members work and reside on the base.