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NEWS | Oct. 27, 2022

Thunder Six promoted to colonel

By Lt. Col. Carla Raisler, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Army Lt. Col. Steve Mattingly, 138thField Artillery Brigade commander (Thunder Six) was promoted to the rank of colonel in a ceremony at the Federal Hill Mansion at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, Ky. on Oct 6, 2022.

Mattingly knows his way around the 138th FAB. He began his military career as an enlisted Soldier in 1998 as a Forward Observer. Since then, he has served as the Bravo Battery 2/238th Field Artillery Battalion commander and 1-623 Field Artillery Battalion commander, among multiple other positions throughout the brigade. In 2021, Mattingly took command of the 138th Field Artillery Brigade. He has been serving in the brigade for 24 years. While more common in the National Guard than active duty or any other branch of service, it’s still quite notable.

For his promotion ceremony, Mattingly opted for a casual ceremony in the front yard of My Old Kentucky Home. He was flanked by two platoon-sized formations; one consisted of Soldiers who have served with him throughout his career and the other was of his family who have supported him throughout his career.

Both sides have supported Mattingly throughout his career. His parents instilled in him the Army values before he ever enlisted; his wife, Molly, was there when he graduated from basic training; and his fellow officers and non-commissioned officers have been there to mentor and support him throughout his career.

“My parents prepared me to lead at all levels by teaching me to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of background,” said Mattingly. “My family has always walked lock step with me throughout my career. In the military, 1st Sgt. Harold Davis really took me under his wing and just poured a lifetime of leadership lessons, military and family, into me as we served together. Rarely a day goes by in my career that I don’t hear his voice ringing in my head as I face complex problems.”

Mattingly regularly encounters complex problems as a brigade commander. How he handles them is one of the hallmarks of his leadership. His executive officer, Lt. Col. Jonathan Gocke, appreciates his leadership style.

“I have been inspired and mentored by Col. Mattingly constantly throughout the 14 years I have known him,” says Gocke. “He has a unique ability to tackle a challenge with a calm and open mind. He not only listens to his subordinates, but he digests what they say and can react and make quick decisions. It is also impressive how he empowers his leaders and often takes their advice and runs with it.”

Mattingly’s leadership style is also recognized and appreciated by his non-commissioned officers. Staff Sgt. Elijah Johnson, 138th Field Artillery Brigade unit training non-commissioned officer has been working for Mattingly in different capacities since he joined.

“In my experience, he is probably the most hands-on commander I’ve ever served under, because he personally goes around to each cell and talks with them,” said Johnson “I think this is conducive to unit cohesion and builds trust, because the soldiers know for a fact that he is listening to their comments.”

This was evident by Mattingly’s success at completing the first cross-commonwealth high frequency transmission of a fire mission.

“This last year was the most engaging,” said Johnson. “Col. Mattingly laid out his intent that would basically have the brigade successfully perform fire missions across the commonwealth via HF and Upper Tactical Internet, something which had never been done before. He was very involved in the planning and execution of this monumental achievement, from its inception.”

While Mattingly may not have been there from the inception of the 138th Field Artillery Brigade in 1839, he has been there the entire lifetimes of many of its current Soldiers.

“Col. Mattingly sets the tone for the culture of the 138th FAB’’ said Gocke. “He epitomizes the professional environment with which the 138th is known and creates a culture of expertise, learning and overall unit cohesion. The positive comradery in the 138th is a direct result of his leadership,”

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