2nd Chemical Battalion Change of Command

Story by Pfc. Crystal Eldridge
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

Lt. Col. David Wilcox, outgoing commander of the 2nd Chemical Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Sven Erichsen in a ceremony at Sadowski Field Friday.

Wilcox stood beside his wife, Carol, and their two children, watching as Soldiers of the 2nd Chem marched by following their new commander, Erichsen. Wilcox' eyes, normally sparkling with laughter, looked heavy and reflective. One could imagine he was thinking over the past two years, years he spoke of with pride during Friday's ceremony.

Looking at Erichsen, Wilcox said the new commander would have to be patient - he had some things to say. Wilcox began to tell the Soldiers of the 2nd Chem how honored he had been to serve with them.

Earlier in the week, Wilcox and his wife demonstrated their respect for Soldiers of the 2nd Chem by sponsoring a celebration, presenting awards to volunteers within the organization, and sharing a meal with them.

"You may not always receive a handshake," Wilcox said to his Soldiers at the celebration, "but you're always appreciated."

Command has kept Wilcox and his family busy for the past two years, with an escalation of responsibility over the last year or so. When the 64th CSG headquarters deployed in August 2005, Wilcox assumed responsibility for 17 companies and 10 rear detachments. During his transition to rear commander, he planned and deployed a logistical task force that played a key role in the joint logistics command's support mission to support Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief efforts.

While fulfilling his responsibilities as battalion commander, Wilcox planned, coordinated and executed deployment and redeployment operations, ensuring all deploying forces were equipped and manned fully, whether supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom or Bright Star, said Col. Cassandra Roberts, commander of the 64th CSG, who is currently in Iraq.

Maintaining these responsibilities is job enough, but Wilcox and his wife went a step further. Both spent time and energy after-hours with Soldiers - not only of their battalion but of the entire 13th SC(E).

In 2005, Wilcox spent Thanksgiving brunch in the Freeman Dining Facility, sharing a meal with Soldiers who are away from family and friends.

In October 2005, the former commander of the chemical battalion offered support to Soldiers of the 664th Ordnance Company as they deployed.

Carol Wilcox coordinated food vouchers for Soldiers and their families to receive at Christmas and mentored spouses of Soldiers within the battalion and 64th CSG while maintaining the role of soccer-mom.

Both Wilcox's spent countless hours assisting Soldiers and leaders within the 13th SC(E), preparing the command's headquarters for deployment.

All the while, said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commander of the 13th SC(E), Wilcox maintained a positive sense of humor.

Terry added that, while Wilcox is leaving command, he will be staying with the 13th SC(E) and will be deploying later this year with the 13th SC(E) headquarters.

"I had to fight the entire Army to keep him," Terry declared.

Wilcox' mission in Iraq will be to train Iraqi soldiers, just as he's trained countless American Soldiers throughout his career, Terry added.

"Sven, you have big shoes to fill," Terry continued, speaking to the battalion's newest commander.

However, the general continued, he is sure Erichsen will rise to the challenge.

 

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Lt. Col. David Wilcox, outgoing commander of the 2nd Chemical Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), leads his battalion one last time during the 2nd Chem's change of command ceremony at Sadowski Field here June 23. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs

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Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commander of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks to guests at the 2nd Chemical Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, change of command ceremony at Sadowski Field here June 23. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs