Cadet Command set for new home at Fort Knox

Photo by Steve Arel
From left, Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell, commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Herschel Turner, the organization's command sergeant major, cases the colors Friday at Fort Monroe, Va., signaling the headquarters' official move to Fort Knox.

The News Enterprise
October 3, 2010
By STEVE AREL

U.S. Army Cadet Command

FORT MONROE, Va. – The leadership of U.S. Army Cadet Command rolled up the organization's flag Friday morning and with it nearly a quarter century of history from its home at this storied post. The colors, sealed in a plain, drab green sheath, won't be unfurled until November when they are uncased by a new commander in their new home at Fort Knox.

Though the command has gravitated toward Kentucky over the last two years – with dozens of positions being relocated – the casing ceremony in Fort Monroe's post theater marked the end of an era in Virginia.

The organization's Fort Knox element, known as Cadet Command Forward, is now simply Cadet Command.

"I have the honor and privilege of closing the book on the first 25 years of Cadet Command's history at Fort Monroe," said Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell, the command's commanding general. "I am humbled by that. It has been a great ride."

Cadet Command, which oversees Army ROTC at 273 colleges and universities nationwide and produces 60 percent of all Army officers, has been based at Fort Monroe since its formation in 1986. Its headquarters is moving as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, which ultimately includes shutting down Fort Monroe next fall.

Nearly 200 employees already are part of Cadet Command's headquarters at Fort Knox. The remaining 160 slots still at Fort Monroe will join them by this time next year. Cadet Command has long had a presence at Fort Knox. The command's 1st Brigade, which includes senior and military junior colleges across the country and operates the Leader's Training Course each summer for prospective Cadets, and 7th Brigade, which comprises programs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, also are based at the Kentucky post.

The casing ceremony, anticipated since the 2005 BRAC announcement, lasted only a matter of minutes. Bartell held the outer edge of the flag straight as Command Sgt. Maj. Herschel Turner, Cadet Command's top enlisted soldier, straightened the cloth as it wound around a staff being turned clockwise by a color-bearer. Turner then slid the sheath over the flag, tying it snug at the base.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Wagner, the man who inaugurated the colors at the only home the organization has ever known, was there too when they were cased Friday. One of the command's longest-tenured generals, leading the command from 1986-90, he expressed sadness at the organization's departure.

But he plans to remain involved in the future, working with the commanding general and even teaching classes at the School of Cadet Command that prepares instructors at the senior and junior ROTC levels.

"We look forward to the future at Fort Knox," Wagner said. "It has to work. I intend to do my best to make sure that happens. The future of our country is at stake."

Wagner and retired Maj. Gen. Wallace Arnold, Cadet Command's second commander, were honored with the Secretary of the Army's Public Service Award for their continued service to the organization.

Preceding the casing of the colors was a relinquishment of command by Bartell. The command's eighth commander heads to Iraq this month to assume duties as the director, J-3, for U.S. Forces.

Bartell will switch positions with his successor, Maj. Gen. James McDonald, the current J-3.

Bartell, an ROTC grad himself from the University of Michigan, said he relished his time helping develop the future leaders of the Army. Those lieutenants will be some of the same Soldiers he'll rely upon to carry out America's support role in Iraq.

He applauded the work of those responsible for producing quality Cadets for the officer corps – the team of staff, cadre and other leaders.

"We're getting it right," Bartell said.

Until McDonald's arrival next month, Cadet Command will be led by Col. Barrye Price, who has been the deputy commanding officer since July. Price described his role as building upon the momentum of the command's move and serving as a bridge between the two commanders.

"We're ready to do it," he said.

This story, written by Steve Arel, was provided to One Knox courtesy of The News Enterprise. Read more stories from The News Enterprise at www.thenewsenterprise.com.