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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2022

91st Training Division bids farewell to commander

By Master Sgt. Benari Poulten 80th Training Command (Reserve)

Members of the 91st Training Division, 84th Training Command and distinguished guests gathered together at the Fort Hunter Liggett post theater on an unusually rainy afternoon to bid farewell to the division’s outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Patricia R. Wallace, as she relinquished command in a brief ceremony on Dec. 3, 2022. Maj. Gen. Edward H. Merrigan Jr., commanding general of the 84th, served as the presiding officer for the event.

A native of Indianapolis, Brig. Gen. Wallace assumed command of the 91st on Sept. 15, 2020 after a lengthy career that included previously serving as deputy commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division and a deployment as executive officer / public affairs officer for the Iraqi Assistance Group, 1st Infantry Division, Kuwait, in addition to numerous other assignments.

Reflecting on her time as the 91st's commander, she credited the Soldiers and civilians of the division for the success of her tenure. “It has been an honor to serve as the 22nd commanding general of this storied unit and to be part of the Fort Hunter Liggett and Camp Parks family and communities,” she said. “Command is not about the commander, it’s about the mission and the Soldiers. As I expected, the Soldiers and civilians of the 91st Training Division did not disappoint. Over the past two years, they’ve truly demonstrated what the wild west is made of. Despite the many challenges – Covid, wildfires, heat, change in doctrine, change in commanders – they planned and executed relevant, realistic, and safe training with pride and ownership. I could not be more proud to have led this team of professionals.”

Although her family could not attend the ceremony in person, she invoked their spirits and expressed her genuine appreciation for her family’s strength and love. “I want to thank them for their continued support and allowing me to give 150 percent, just as the Soldiers of the 91st have given to me.”

Her dedication to her family and her team came as no surprise to Merrigan, who noted that the 91st’s outgoing commander maintained a staunch commitment to three main pillars: “family, friends, and freedom.” In his remarks, he stressed the importance of her family in her life, as well as her devotion to friends and freedom. “Her friends, her battle buddies, her mentors, her peers … she never hesitates to reach out and express her gratitude to those people,” he said. “And then of course, the last thing, freedom. You know, [Brig. Gen. Wallace] does all this and makes all these sacrifices to protect the freedom that we all share. So, it’s been an honor to serve with Trish. I hope that I get an opportunity to do that again in the future…and I wish [Brig. Gen.] Trish Wallace all the best in her future endeavors.”

Wallace ended her remarks by looking forward to her next assignment with the satisfaction of knowing she leaves the division in good shape and in good hands, stating: “The hardest part of relinquishing command is the thought of: ‘what didn’t I do; what could I have done better; and what’s next?’ I take solace in knowing the fact that I know the new command team…they’re outstanding leaders. They’ll take the reins. You have the right structure, right tools, leaders, and partners to ensure continued success of the 91st Training Division. You will continue to do what you do best, and that’s to train warfighters to win war. You will do it in an ever-changing environment and you will do it with excellence. And I take pride in that.”

Prior to the official ceremony, Wallace was presented with several parting gifts and mementos as a token of appreciation for her service to the 91st, including an inscribed cannon shell casing and personalized commemorative plaque. Later this month, Brig. Gen. Wallace will next assume the top leadership role with the 80th Training Command (The Army School System) as its newest commanding general.