LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
Soldiers, friends and family gathered together as the 75th Troop Command said goodbye to one commander and welcomed another during the change of command ceremony at Bowman Field Readiness Center, Apr. 30.
Army Col. Jason P. Penn assumed command of the brigade from Col. Timothy R. Starke, who had previously served as the brigade’s executive officer two years prior to becoming the commander.
A change of command is a military tradition that represents a transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit or command. The history, tradition, and accomplishments of the command are embodied in the colors. The passing of colors from an outgoing commander to an incoming commander ensures that the unit and its Soldiers are never without official leadership, represents a continuation of trust, and signifies an allegiance of Soldiers to their unit's commander.
The Adjutant General for Kentucky, Maj. Gen. Haldane B. Lamberton, was present for the ceremony as well as, the Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, who spoke to the crowd in attendance.
“Today we honor Tim Starke on his successful command and celebrate what he and his team have accomplished over the past two years,” said Wertzler. “I want to emphasize that Col. Starke, as the commander, has played a significant role in all these subordinate units’ successes and in rebranding the brigade to be the ‘Expedition Brigade’.”
The term ‘Expedition Brigade’ refers to the ties that brigade has to explorer Brig. Gen. George Rogers Clark, who was the commander of the Kentucky Militia during the revolutionary War and the city of Louisville where they are headquartered.
“Several years ago, the 75th adopted the call sign expedition as a nod to Louisville being the area where Lewis and Clark planned their epic discovery mission,” said Starke. “It was an acknowledgement that this brigade and subordinate units, leaders and Soldiers are truly built to explore new frontiers and pioneer new missions. Expedition Soldiers have done just that. And they have done it the right way.”
During his speech to the audience, he thanked the Soldiers who have been asked to do so much over the past few years and thanked the Adjutant General for picking him to be the one to lead them.
“To all the Soldiers, NCO’s and officers of the brigade staff, both M-DAY and full time, thank you for your amazing work supporting subordinate units, Soldiers and their Families,” said Starke. “Your devotion to the success of our battalions and direct subordinate units has been absolute. Your ability to transform guidance and intent into plans and orders of exception quality is absolutely unmatched in the Kentucky National Guard.”
As he leaves, Starke is confident in the incoming commander and glad that someone of Penn’s caliber will be taking over the brigade.
“Col. Penn is an awesome officer,” said Starke, “We don't get to choose who's going to replace us in our units, but I couldn't pick anybody better than Jason Penn. He’s super experienced in the infantry as he was their battalion commander and has tremendous knowledge of how the Army and the National Guard works.”
Penn has dedicated his full career to serving in the National Guard and is currently working as the Deputy United States Property and Fiscal Officer at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky.
As commander of the 75th Troop command, Penn will be responsible for overseeing the 1-149th Infantry, 1792nd CCSB 101st Main Command Post-Operational Detachment, 41ST Civil Support Team, 20th Military Intelligence Company, 1163rd Medical Company Area Support and the 175th Cyber Protection Team
“I’m really excited to be here,” said Penn. “I can’t wait to build on what is an already excellent brigade.”
Penn added that he sees that the partnerships between the community, states, other military components and services ‘serve to enhance (the brigades) capability and add relevance to our mission’.
“It is our duty to be ready for the next conflict and we are all counted on to do that. I look forward to serving alongside of you and supporting your mission,” he said.
For the departing commander, looking back on his time with the brigade brought out great emotion when talking about what the Soldiers of the 75th have accomplished over the past several years.
“I’m extremely proud to be a part of this brigade for four years, it’s truly been the highlight of my career. I’m amazed how far we’ve come as an organization and I can honestly say there’s no team I’d rather be on than this one,” said Starke.
As for what’s next for Starke, he will be going to Joint Force Headquarters and will serve as the Officer in Charge of operations and training, which coincidentally is also his full-time job with the Guard as well.