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NEWS | Oct. 13, 2016

Reserve Soldiers Welcome New Commander at Niagara Falls

By Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Training Division -Initial Entry Training

Under the mist of Niagara Falls, N.Y., Army Reserve Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), welcomed their new commander, Col. Russell Bonaccorso, during a change of command ceremony on September 10, 2016.

Bonaccorso, who leaves the position of Emergency Preparedness Liaison
Officer for the State of Connecticut, takes command of the Army Reserve brigade that includes Soldiers in eight states.

The outgoing commander, Col. William Vaughn, leaves the brigade after three years and moves to his next position as the Chief of Staff for the 200th Military Police Command.

While commanding 4th Brigade, “Vaughn pushed his Soldiers to be the best and accepted nothing less,” said Brig. Gen. Miles Davis, commanding general of the 98th Training Division (IET).

The unique mission of the Army Reserve drill sergeant brigade was nothing new to Vaughn though. He himself served as a drill sergeant earlier in his career and understood the struggles and rewards of wearing the hat and working the trail, which quickly earned respect from many of the 4th Brigade Soldiers.

“Bill has been a caring and dedicated leader who has taken his brigade to the next level,” said Davis.

Besides the obvious respect from his Soldiers, this level of excellence included the brigade completing four Echo Mission rotations of over 960 Soldiers, conducting multiple drill sergeant validation exercises and producing this year’s TRADOC Drill Sergeant of the Year.

“Bill, you have a lot to be proud of,” said Davis. Of course, all these accomplishments will make it harder for the new commander though, but Davis said he wasn’t concerned. “[Bonaccorso] comes to us with a wealth of experience and proven track record.”

Bonaccorso told Davis he looked forward to the challenge of getting the brigade to an even higher level. Then, he looked out over his new Soldiers and gave them his personal mantra. "You don't know what you can get away with until you try," said Bonaccorso.

He explained his mantra wasn’t a license for illicit behavior, but rather a license in creativity leadership.

“As the future leaders of the Army, I expect my junior officers and NCOs to push the limits of their imagination while working within the limitations of Army regulations and policies.”

With that, Davis welcomed Bonaccorso to the team. “Make your mark, set the standard, and welcome to the 98th Division Family!”