FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. –
For the first time in recent years, an active-duty Soldier will take command of an Army Reserve military police unit. According to the Department of the Army Executive Order 139-22 dated May 2022, Lt. Col. Joel Maxwell is now the first active-duty Soldier to take command of the 324th Military Police Battalion, an Army Reserve unit, based in Fresno, California. The change of command ceremony commenced on a small arms range on Fort Hunter Liggett.
During the ceremony, the commander of the 11th Military Police Brigade, Col. Steven Padilla received the 324th colors from the outgoing commander, Maj. Martin Leopard, and transferred the authority to Maxwell in front of a formation of Soldiers making up the four companies under the 324th.
The Soldiers took a break and stood in formation during their weapons qualification on the M4 Carbine and M17 pistol.
“This is certainly a unique one in our organization, as Lt. Col. Maxwell is one of our active-duty partners coming to the reserve component,” said Padilla. “I look forward and have no doubt that he will continue the tempo of the great things that are happening in this battalion.”
Adjusting from everyday Title 10 missions that Maxwell saw in the active component to a 38-day yearly training cycle will be a battle, but he will rely on his leadership to continue on with collective and individual team training.
“Some of the challenges are figuring out how to train to the level of Soldiers and standard with soldiers that have the competing requirements on the active side,” said Maxwell. “It is a total Army as Army Reserve and active duty are intermingled and have the same expectations.”
This is the first time that Maxwell will lead soldiers who have careers as a civilian and a Soldier. “Soldiers that have a dual focus will still achieve the same standards and be able to train them to that standard,” added Maxwell.
Maxwell was assigned as the chief of protection at the Maneuver Support Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri before taking command of the 324th.
Maxwell has commanded active-component units at a company level and now has an opportunity once again to lead Soldiers, this time Army Reserve Soldiers.
“I am here to teach, mentor and train the Soldiers,” said Maxwell. “I am their advocate, and I have the Soldiers’ back. I will give good guidance, listen, understand and help create courses of actions and go forward.”
Maxwell would like to see an atmosphere where soldiers take care of each other and complete missions according to standard. “I want to be approachable and want my Soldiers to know that I care for them as individuals and the organization as a whole,” added Maxwell.