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NEWS | Aug. 12, 2022

Chicago-based Army Reserve Command welcomes a new commander

By Capt. Michael Ariola 85th Support Command

The U.S. Army Reserve’s 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command conducted a change of command ceremony for their headquarters and headquarters company, August 7, 2022, welcoming a new commander during their battle assembly weekend.

Maj. Jodi B. Wernikoff, outgoing commander, served as the HHC commander since Oct. 3, 2021. Wernikoff in her next assignment will serve as the clinic director at The United States Special Operations Command Clinic at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Wernikoff offered some final words for the Soldiers of the 85th USARSC headquarters.

“While my time here was shorter than anticipated, I depart with ease knowing that collectively as a team we achieved many great accomplishments together. Thank you to all that invested in me. Who gave me honest feedback, and consistently challenged me to take the harder right than the easier wrong,” said Wernikoff.

Maj. Kristin J. Wudtke, incoming commander for the “Custer Division” HHC, previously served in the 85th Support Command's G-3 operations section, in support of Future Operations and the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Wudtke accepted the position and vowed to serve with distinction in her new position as the company commander.

“I feel honored to be selected as your incoming HHC Commander. My goal as the HHC Commander is built upon the concept of relationship building, with the focus on developing trust, maintaining consistent communication, and building a positive work environment,” said Wudtke. “I am here to serve you all, I look forward what the future holds.”

Wernikoff deployed as the battalion physician assistant for the 45th Sustainment Brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

She additionally served as a battalion physician assistant for the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Camp Carroll, South Korea; brigade surgeon for the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade in Bristol, Pennsylvania; HHC commander of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade in Homewood, Illinois; and as a mobilization officer for the 328th Combat Support Hospital in Ft. Douglas, Utah.

Wernikoff’s top awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

Wudtke began her career as an Army officer in the Maryland Army National Guard serving as a signal platoon leader for the Special Troops Battalion, 29th Infantry Division, Townson, Maryland. Following this assignment, she transitioned to the Virginia ARNG and assumed command as the detachment commander, Detachment 1, Signal Company out of Manassas, Virginia.

In 2013, Wudtke transferred into the U.S. Army Reserve where she served as a career management officer for the 8th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Division, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. She then transferred to the 1st Operations Brigade out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving as an assessment and analyst officer in charge.

Wudtke's top awards include the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters and Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

The 85th USARSC’s nine brigade support elements, along with its 45 battalions dispersed across 25 states, provide capable and ready Army Reserve observer coach/trainers. These OC/Ts possess the capabilities to partner with and train Army leaders in focused areas of leadership, training, equipping and unit manning in order to support First Army’s mission to successfully deploy units to win on the battlefield.

The 85th USARSC lineage dates back to August 5, 1917 when it was constituted as the 85th Infantry Division, and later activated at Camp Custer, Michigan, to deploy overseas in July 1918. The division later served in World War II and participated in the campaigns of Rome-Arno, Po Valley, and North Apennines.

Four “Custermen” were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service in WWII: 1st. Lt. Orville Bloch, 338th Infantry Regiment; Sgt. Chris Carr, 337th Infantry Regiment; and posthumously: Staff Sgt. George Keathley, 338th infantry Regiment and 1st Lt. Robert Waugh, 339th Infantry Regiment.