102nd welcomes new commander Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 August 2013
Story and photo by Melissa Buckley
GUIDON staff
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Col. Wayne Cavender handed over command of the Army Reserve’s 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support) to Col. John Elam, during a change-of-command ceremony Sunday at Nutter Field House.

Maj. Gen. William Gerety, commander 80th Training Command (Total Army School System), presided over the time-honored tradition that represents the formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one commander to another.
Maj. Gen. William Gerety, commander, 80th Training Command, right, hands the colors of the 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support) to incoming commander, Col. John Elam, left, during a change-of-command ceremony Sunday at Nutter Field House.

After the formal passing of the colors, Gerety addressed the crowd.

“With any change of command it is both a happy and sad event — depending upon which side of the equation you are sitting on,” Gerety said.

This was Cavendar’s final assignment as he is retiring after 29 years of service. He is a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

“It’s joyous and sad for Col. — now retired — Mike Cavender. Mike, thank you so much for everything you have done for us. You now are part of a long ride of retirees that stretch all the way back to Lexington and Concord,” Gerety said. “Remember once a Soldier, always a Soldier. Now, you are an adviser. You are one of our assets. You’ve been there, and you can help this Army continue to be everything it could be.”

Gerety then took a few minutes to welcome Elam.

“On the other side of the equation is Col. Elam. We have a lot of work for him. Jack, you are going to do a phenomenal job; you are inheriting a great organization,” Gerety said.

Cavender took the podium for a few moments to say goodbye to his Soldiers.

“Standing before you today are some of the finest Soldiers I have ever had the privilege of working with. Nearly every day Soldiers from all components are being trained by the 80th Training Command and of those the 102nd Division trains the next generation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, Military Police, Engineer and Intermediate Level Education Soldiers,” Cavender said. “The team that we have in place will not only meet the challenges we face but meet whatever missions are assigned to them in the future.”

During Elam’s speech he thanked his Family and friends for traveling to watch him take command of the 102nd Training Division.  

“Thank you for your continued support in my military career,” Elam said.

“It’s with great pride and excitement that I begin this next chapter. I have come to know the great team of Soldiers and civilians at the 102nd. I have nothing but admiration for the work you are doing,” Elam said.

Elam talked about the delicate balance between his civilian life and his Army life.

“Life in a Reserve component is characterized by striking a time balance between Family, work, military duties, friends and also taking care of one’s self. The command of the 102nd will continue that demand on time, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Elam said. “ I pledge and dedicate my all to making sure this division succeeds. I look forward to visiting all of the brigades and battalions in the coming months.”

Elam’s most recent assignment was with the 411th Engineer Brigade as the deputy commander where he prepared the brigade for deployment and directed combat engineer and construction operations across Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Elam holds a bachelor of science in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Elam is the Township Engineer and Director of Public Works for the Township of Jefferson, N.J.

The 102nd Training Division is part of the U.S. Army Reserve Command. The division was historically named The Ozark Division because most of the Soldiers were drawn from the Ozarks region.

“Distinction, Valor, Marksmanship” is the motto.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 August 2013 )