FORT McCOY, Wis. –
Col. Stephen T. Messenger became the new commander of Fort McCoy Garrison on July 14 during a change-of-command ceremony at Veterans Memorial Plaza at the installation’s historic Commemorative Area.
Messenger received the garrison flag from Brenda McCullough, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command Directorate-Readiness. After taking command, Messenger said he’s ready for the challenge.
“My family and I are humbled to lead here at this installation. … I will work relentlessly on behalf of this installation to continue the great legacy of Soldier support, family advocacy, installation integration, and community involvement,” Messenger said.
“The professionalism I have seen since I have arrived here is second to none,” he said. “It truly is the Total Force Training Center.”
Messenger replaces Col. Michael D. Poss who became the garrison commander June 10, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual change-of-command ceremony. Poss moves on to serve in a position at the 88th Readiness Division — also at Fort McCoy.
Messenger arrives after serving in his prior assignment as the director of engineering and logistics, J4, Joint Task Force Civil Support, Fort Eustis, Va., which was on the front lines of the nation’s COVID response.
According to his biography, Messenger earned a bachelor’s of science degree in aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Fla.; a master’s degree in administration with a leadership focus from Central Michigan University; a master’s degree in military arts and science from the Command and General Staff College; and a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree from Liberty University in strategic leadership.
Messenger began his career in the Infantry Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C. with the 82nd Airborne Division as an infantry platoon leader with the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry. He served in Afghanistan in 2002 in the Kandahar and Gardez regions. After completing his branch detail, Messenger became a transportation officer and was assigned as the battalion operations officer, 82nd Forward Support Battalion from 2003-2004 where he served in Fallujah, Iraq, with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Additional assignments include battle captain with the 336th Transportation Group in Arifjan, Kuwait, from 2006-2007 during the Operation Iraqi Freedom surge; 72nd Field Artillery
Brigade, First Army, training Soldiers deploying into combat; active-guard reserve position as the executive officer for the 3rd Battalion, 356th Regiment (Logistics Support Battalion) at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.; and Command and General Staff College Resident Course student at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduating in 2014. Messenger also earned the title of Distinguished Master Logistician, graduating in the top 20 percent of his class, his biography states. His follow-on assignment was the Advanced Military Studies Program, School of Advanced Military Studies where he graduated in June 2015.
Messenger was next assigned to United States Transportation Command, J-3 Operations Directorate, Training and Exercises Division, as the program manager for Joint Task
Force-Port Opening and Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore. He then served as the professor of military science of the Drexel University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program in Philadelphia.
Messenger also has served as battalion commander of 6th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Group, leading retention efforts across the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Messenger’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star,
Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Army Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.
Messenger also addressed the Fort McCoy workforce and community in his opening remarks as commander where he praised the work everyone accomplishes every day.
“This installation provides exceptional training, quality services, the best housing in the Army, great neighboring communities, and fantastic people,” Messenger said. “Fantastic people who care about others. I look forward to being part of this exceptional organization and to collectively achieve what I call the maximum standard. And we’ll talk more about that throughout the year. Thank you and I am excited to serve Team McCoy.”
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”
Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.