An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | May 23, 2024

78th Training Division welcomes new commander

By Capt. Jonathan Ferrer 78th Training Division

The 78th Training Division (TD) held a change of command ceremony on May 18, 2024, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, where Brig. Gen. Christopher W. Cook relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Andrew F. Scarcella. The event, steeped in military tradition, highlighted the division's enduring commitment to training and readiness.

Maj. Gen. Edward H. Merrigan, the commander of 84th Training Command, presided over the ceremony and emphasized Brig. Gen. Cook’s dedication to excellence in leading the 78th Training Division, ensuring that Army Reserve units are well-prepared for future missions.

"Chris has been exceptional as the Division Commander of the 78th Training Division. His keen insight and ability to lead and motivate Soldiers has been an inspiration to all. Chris, I want to thank you and your family for your sacrifice and attention to detail for the past two years." said Merrigan. "As we say goodbye to Chris Cook, we welcome Brig. Gen. Andrew Scarcella. I cannot think of a better senior officer to replace Chris Cook than Andy Scarcella. I have full faith and confidence in your abilities to command and to take the 78th to the next level."

Cook, who has led the division since 2022, will be moving to his new role as the deputy commanding general-support for the 63rd Readiness Division (RD) at Moffett Field, California. During his tenure at the helm of the 78th TD, Cook played a critical role in training and readiness of Army Reserve units for emergency disaster and deployment.

Cook, in his farewell speech as the outgoing commander, expressed deep gratitude and admiration for the soldiers and staff of the 78th Training Division, highlighting their exceptional performance and the strong bonds formed during his tenure. He stated, "To the Soldiers, civilians, and families of the 78th, I owe you a debt of gratitude for the support that you have given me. This division has performed beyond all expectations."

Reflecting on the contributions of his staff and the importance of their mission, he further added, "In conclusion, I want to challenge every soldier in the 78th Training Division to continue to provide the very best training for our soldiers during our transition to large-scale combat operations. Our nation is at a crossroads in military history right now, and I have no doubt that you are the soldiers to ensure our continued way of life."

Taking the reins from Cook is Brig. Gen. Andrew F. Scarcella, who arrives with a proven track record. Previously serving as the deputy commanding general-support for the 88th Readiness Division, Scarcella brings a wealth of experience honed through deployments to Iraq and Kosovo.

Scarcella's academic credentials include a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Notre Dame. His military education is equally comprehensive, with courses completed at the U.S. Army War College and U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the prestigious Ranger Tab.

Scarcella, at the podium and addressing the command for the first time, expressed his gratitude and commitment to his new role. He stated, "To Maj. Gen. Merrigan, thank you for your trust and confidence in me. I cannot fully express how grateful I am to have this opportunity to lead the 78th Lightning Division. I will always endeavor to do my best, and I will not let you down, sir."

He also acknowledged his predecessor, Cook, for his exemplary leadership and smooth transition. "To Brig. Gen. Chris Cook, thank you for everything you have done and accomplished leading the division. I truly appreciate all that you have done to make this a smooth and seamless transition. I know we will be in touch going forward, and I wish you the best of luck in your next assignment with the RD."

The 78th Training Division, also known as the "Lightning Division," is a distinguished unit within the Army Reserve, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Its lineage stretches back to World War I, where it participated in pivotal campaigns like St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. Today, the 78th TD carries on that proud tradition by providing realistic and challenging training that prepares Army Reserve units for the full spectrum of modern warfare.

As the 78th Training Division moves forward under new leadership, it remains dedicated to its mission of preparing Army Reserve units for any challenge they may face. The division’s legacy of excellence and commitment to Soldier readiness continues to be a cornerstone of its operations.