FORT BLISS, Texas –
After serving as the commander of the 319th Engineer Support Company for almost two years, Capt. Bryce Papke relinquished command to 1st Lt. James Hethcox during a change of command ceremony at the United States Army Reserve Center, El Paso Texas, July 10, 2021.
Papke, a California native, enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in 2009 as a combat engineer, and commissioned as an engineer officer in 2011 after completing Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He previously deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait and mobilized stateside as a rear detachment officer in charge for the 961st Engineer Battalion. “I want to say thank you,” said Papke. “Thank you to everyone who ever walked through my door, you trusted me enough, and first sergeant enough to help you out with any issues or problems you were having, whether it was in your personal life or professional life.”
During the ceremony, said Lt. Col. Lisa Jaster, commander, 980th Engineer Battalion, thanked Capt. Papke for his dedication and commitment. “Capt. Papke is leaving and we’re going to miss him,” said Jaster. “He did some great things as commander, he made some mistakes, and he grew, and you grew.” Jaster welcomed 1st Lt. Hethcox to his new role. “Hey LT, welcome to calling and texting me, five out of seven days a week,” said Jaster. “You’re now in charge of this 319th family, the guidon is yours.”
1st Lt. Hethcox, incoming commander and Sylacauga, Alabama native, enlisted in the United States Army in 2004, and was previously a noncommissioned officer and warrant officer prior to commissioning as an engineer officer in 2016. Hethcox previously deployed to Afghanistan and served in a variety of positions. He thanked his family, who was unable to attend the ceremony, and the 319th family. “I want to thank all of you, the troops,” said Hethcox. “I want to express my personal gratitude for the honor of joining your team, the 319th family. It’s my honor and privilege to serve as your commander.”
Hethcox continued by wishing a successful future for the Soldiers of the 319th ESC.
“May our journey together be a success, and may we continue to build positive legacy for the 319th Engineer Support Company; one that any troop or future leader would be proud to be a part of.”
The 319th ESC is a United States Army Reserve unit, comprised of vertical and horizontal engineers, maintenance, logistics, and administrative Soldiers, based in El Paso, Texas; and part of the 980th Engineer Battalion, 420th Engineer Brigade, and 416th Theater Engineer Command (TEC).