|Changing of the Guard: 913th welcomes Griffin |
|Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 9:15 pm |
| By CHRIS MENEES |
Six months after leading troops home from Middle East deployment, Capt. Jacob Partridge bid farewell to the 913th Engineer Company Sunday.
A new commanding officer officially took over the Union City-based Tennessee Army National Guard unit during a change of command ceremony at the local armory.
The unit’s guidon was passed to new company commander Capt. Thomas Griffin and new 1st Sgt. Tony Stafford from the outgoing company commander, Partridge, and outgoing 1st Sgt. Marty Ables.
Both Partridge and Ables were transferred to the 230th Engineer Battalion in Trenton, where Partridge will be assistant operations officer and Ables will be intelligence non-commissioned officer (NCO).
Griffin transferred to the 913th from the Trenton-based Forward Support Company (FSC), 230th Engineer Battalion, where he served as executive officer, while Stafford transferred from the other Trenton company, Headquarters Headquarters Company (HHC).
The official change of command took place Sunday afternoon in a ceremony held during closing formation for 913th soldiers gathered for a regular weekend drill. Immediate family members of the incoming and outgoing commanders were also in attendance.
Partridge and Ables were each awarded Army commendation medals for meritorious service during the ceremony as they bid farewell to the unit, while Griffin and Stafford were officially welcomed into the 913th family with the passing of the unit’s guidon — the flag which represents the unit and its commanding officer.
It was an emotional time for both Partridge and Ables, who compared the close-knit 150-member unit to a family and expressed how much they will miss the 913th. Partridge said he did two deployments with the local unit and Ables said it had been “almost 34 years I’ve been walking through the front door of this building.”
Partridge, 30, served as the 913th’s commander the past 21⁄2 years and had also served about two years with the local unit as its executive officer during 2005-06, during which time the unit was also deployed. He said when he took over the unit as commander, he felt like he was “coming home.”
Partridge expressed appreciation to his family and particularly his wife, Leah, for their support and he thanked God for watching over the unit during its most recent deployment to the Middle East. The unit returned home to Union City in August 2012 following a year-long deployment.
“I thank God for keeping His protective hand on us,” he said.
He said the 913th’s soldiers accomplished every mission set before them, adding it was an honor to serve as their commander.
Griffin briefly addressed the unit at the close of the ceremony and said Partridge “left some big shoes to fill.”
Afterward, Griffin told The Messenger he is excited about coming to the 913th and said he actually worked with the local unit during its deployment to Kuwait last year while he was deployed with the Trenton unit. He said he is looking forward to getting to know the soldiers and wants to continue a tradition of excellence that has earned the 913th an outstanding reputation for its work ethic.
Griffin, 37, currently lives in Nashville but is from Trenton and still has family there. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin and was part of its ROTC program.
“I look forward to being here,” he said.
Partridge told The Messenger Sunday afternoon that it has been a privilege to be associated with the 913th and Union City during his time as company commander.
“I can’t express enough to the community, especially here in Union City — they really support this unit and their love is felt by these troops, especially the two times we’ve been overseas,” Partridge said.
“It seems like anything we needed, we got. People really stretched out their hands for us and showed us their love and appreciation,” he added. “I am going to miss being here.”
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com. Published in The Messenger 2.4.13