COL Stephen A. Fairless
Colonel Stephen A. Fairless was commissioned as an Armor Officer in 1997 following graduation from the United States Military Academy. His first assignment was with the 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Casey, Korea, from 1998 to 1999. There he served as a Battalion S-1 and as a Tank Platoon Leader. He then served in 1st Battalion, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, as a Mechanized Infantry Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and as a Support Platoon Leader from 1999 to 2000. While serving as the Support Platoon Leader, he deployed with the Battalion to Kuwait for four months in support of Operation Intrinsic Action.
Following graduation from the Armor Officer Advanced Course, COL Fairless served with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in Fort Benning, Georgia, from 2001 to 2006, initially as a Brigade Assistant S-3 (Planner). While assigned as the Brigade Planner from 2001 to 2003, he deployed to Kuwait for 7 months in support of Operation Desert Spring and to Iraq for 6 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed to Iraq, he took command of D Troop, 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. He then served as Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry from 2004 to 2005 and deployed with the Brigade to Iraq for 12 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.
He was a Small Group Leader at the Aviation Captain’s Career Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from 2006 to 2009.
After completing the Air Force Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, COL Fairless joined 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division as a Brigade Assistant S-3 for 4 months while it was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn. From 2011 to 2013, COL Fairless served as the Squadron S-3 and Squadron Executive Officer of 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in Fort Stewart, Georgia. While assigned as the Squadron XO, he deployed with the Squadron to Regional Command (North), Afghanistan for 9 months beginning in 2012.
From 2013 to 2014, COL Fairless served as the Speechwriter to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. COL Fairless then served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, FORSCOM for 19 months from 2014 through 2015. COL Fairless completed his assignment to FORSCOM as a Plans Officer, G-3, FORSCOM, in 2016.
COL Fairless took command of 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas, on May 13, 2016, and relinquished command on May 17, 2018. He assumed responsibility as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations) for 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, Texas, on June 4, 2018. COL Fairless recently graduated from the U.S. Army War College in the Advanced Strategic Art Program and returned to Fort Bliss to take command of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in July 2020.
COL Fairless’s military training and education includes the Air Assault Course, the Basic Airborne Course, the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Modern Army Combatives Level I and II Courses, the Survival, Escape, Resistance, and Evasion (Level C) Course, the Air Command and Staff College, and the Army War College.
Command Sergeant Major
CSM Joshua R. Bitle
Command Sergeant Major Joshua R. Bitle was previously assigned as the 193rd Brigade Operations Sergeant Major from August 17, 2019, to July 1, 2020.
Command Sergeant Major Bitle joined the Army in September 1996 as a 19K M1A1 Armor Crewman. His previous assignments include Command Sergeant Major, 6th Squadron, 1st U.S. Cavalry; the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas; Operations Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company and D Co. 1SG, 1-6 Infantry, 2nd ABCT, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss; 1SG, A Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 4th ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Platoon Sergeant, 1st Platoon, D Co., 2-7 Cavalry (Garry Owen), 4th ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood; Senior Drill Sergeant, 1st Platoon, 1-81 Armor Battalion, 1st Armor Training Brigade, Fort Knox, Kentucky; Drill Sergeant, 2-46 Infantry Battalion, 1st Armor Training Brigade, Fort Knox; Tank Commander, B Trp, 1st Squadron, 1st U.S. Cavalry, Budingen, Germany; Tank Gunner, 2nd Squadron, 3rd U.S. Cavalry, Fort Carson, Colorado; and Tank Driver/Loader, 2nd Battalion, 72 Armor, Camp Casey, Korea.
Command Sergeant Major Bitle’s combat deployments include: Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003 and 2008-2009, Operation New Dawn 2010-2011, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan 2017.
His civilian and military education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Humboldt State University. His Army Schools include all levels of NCOPDS to include the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Class 66 and the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School.
Command Sergeant Major Bitle’s awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal (two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (3 Bronze OLC), Army Commendation Medal (Silver OLC), Army Achievement Medal (one Silver and three Bronze OLC), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (one Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal (five Service Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Volunteer Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Driver Badge-Track. He has been inducted into the Armor and Cavalry Order of Saint George (Bronze Medallion).