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NEWS | June 13, 2022

318th Theater Public Affairs Support Element change of command ceremony

By Spc. William Riley and Spc. Gail Sanders 318th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

The Army Reserve's 318th Theater Public Affairs Support Element conducted a change of command ceremony at the Col. Paul G. Schulstad United States Army Reserve Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois, during their battle assembly June 12, 2022, welcoming Lt. Col. Arturo Napolitano as the incoming commander and bidding farewell to Lt. Col. Jennifer Mack as the outgoing commander.

The change of command ceremony has a long history dating back to the Peloponnesian War (421 to 404 B.C) and being influenced in its current form by Gen. George Washington in the formative years of this country's beginnings.

After the invocation in which the "Gift of Leadership '' was mentioned, the ceremonial handoff of the unit guidon was accomplished. As the highest ranking NCO for the 318th TPASE, Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Taylor gave the guidon to Lt. Colonel Mack as the current commander. She then passed it to Col. Adam Dietrich with the 88th Readiness Division, symbolically giving back the authority that had been entrusted to her by the 88th. Col. Dietrich in turn handed it down to Napolitano as a visual representation of that assumption of command, and responsibility both for the mission of the unit and its soldiers. Lt. Colonel Napolitano then gave the guidon back to Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor to symbolize his reliance on the Soldiers within his command.

In the remarks after the ceremony, Dietrich thanked the families and talked about Mack's accomplishments with the 318th.

"When you're left to draw upon your experiences and find a way for you and your Soldiers to get it done, someway... somehow..."

He also spoke of what she had managed to achieve in the two years she had been in command.

"Her stalwart leadership has ensured the 318th Theatre Public Affairs Support Element and its subordinate detachments have maintained readiness and accomplished its missions.''

Dietrich wrapped up his introduction of the new commander with the following, "I charge you... with the continual care for the health, welfare, training, and professional development of your Soldiers as well as the continued mission success of the 318th."

Mack then took the podium and thanked her family for their untiring support and sacrifice during her career and her time with the 318th. She then spoke of the challenges faced by the 318th during the pandemic.

"What stands out to me most through these efforts is the dedication and professionalism of the Soldiers across the battalion," and stressed the value that the "Information Warriors" gave to the Army with their dedication and creativity.

As she goes on to a yearlong posting at the War College, Mack stressed the connections she made within the public affairs community and her hope to "cross paths” again in the future.

Finally the incoming commander, Napolitano closed out the ceremony. He thanked his family viewing remotely via a livestream for their support. He stressed that being a Reserve Soldier requires doing well both with family and in civilian careers to have enough left for the full effort and dedication required.

He wrapped up with, "I'm going to leave you with a few commitments. I'm going to work hard and I'm going to exhaust every avenue... and then I'll have the moral courage to raise my hand and relay those issues forward."

Napolitano joins the 318th from the 350th Civil Affairs Command where he served as that command's public affairs officer. He's served in the active Army, the New York and Arizona Army National Guard, as well as in the Army Reserve. He brings a broad breadth of experience to his new role with the 318th Theater Public Affairs Support Element. As Mack heads to the next stage of her career at the Army War College, she can be assured she leaves the 318th in good hands.