Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, Fort Jackson commander, takes the post colors from Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, command of the Center for Initial Military Training, signifying Michaelis' command of the installation. (Robert Timmons)
By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs
A new chapter in the installation’s “illustrious history” was ushered in June 18 as Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis took command of the Army Training Center and Fort Jackson from Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr. during a change of command ceremony at Hilton Field.
“For 104 years throughout every major conflict, Fort Jackson has transformed civilians into Soldiers who are disciplined, physically fit and trusted members of the Army team committed to serving your Army and the nation,” said Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training during the ceremony.
Hibbard, who oversaw the ceremony, said it is challenging to lead Fort Jackson.
“Commanding the Army’s largest training center is an honor and it’s a challenge,” he said moments after handing Michaelis the Fort Jackson colors to signify his leadership of the installation. “It’s a complex mission and it requires leaders with passion, clarity of vision, and above all a steely determination and drive to inspire those to accomplish what they themselves don’t think was possible.”
“Another chapter in the illustrious history of Fort Jackson” begins with Michaelis, Hibbard said.
Michaelis “truly understands the Army is a people business,” he added. “Fort Jackson couldn’t do its job if Patrick didn’t ensure a steady stream of recruits, especially during the trying times of COVID-19.”
Fort Jackson’s new commander was previously Army Recruiting Command’s deputy commanding general.
“Through energy, passion, commitment, and most importantly his leadership, General Michaelis has transformed recruiting operations to adapt to the dynamic markets and innovative technologies required for COVID-19.”
“It’s an honor for me to be standing here today,” Michaelis said before thanking Beagle for the generosity shown to him and his Family. “I am both honestly honored and humbled to join a remarkable lineage of commanders who for over a century with unmatched responsibility trained combat Soldiers for our nation.”
Michaelis praised Beagle’s time as commander noting “over the past 15 months, the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson never skipped a beat in fulfilling its mission. You can see it across the country, regardless of the daily training challenges encountered. The ability to adapt to an ever changing environment was simply remarkable.”
How do you follow this, he asked. You don’t.
“Instead, my charge will be to apply fresh perspective to the amazing work and accomplishments that have been ongoing here at Fort Jackson, and remain committed to Fort Jackson’s enduring priorities: a premier training installation; ensuring a commitment to the quality of life of our Soldiers, Family members and civilians; and remain a strong partner to the region.”
Hibbard lauded Beagle’s tenure on Fort Jackson as defined by the latter’s “genuine passion” for Soldiers, Families and subordinates.
“He instills a winning matters mentality …” he said. “And as a result, the combined Jackson team brought home nearly every award offered by the Army, (Training and Doctrine Command) and (Installation Management Command) during his tenure.”
This paled in comparison to Beagle’s leadership during COVID.
“Through his steadfast leadership, the Fort Jackson team was at the forefront of TRADOC’s efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the virus while continuing to train our Soldiers.”
During his last remarks as Fort Jackson commander, Beagle said Michaelis was “absolutely” the right person to command the installation. “You bring a lot of things to the table that I didn’t bring. Those tools will suit you well over the next couple of years.”
Beagle’s next assignment is to command the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.