By Larry Whitley, Fort Meade Public Affairs
Garrison Welcomes LTC Stephen Ward to Team
Civil Affairs soldiers are the principal experts in assisting a commander on the conduct of civil-military operations. Based on his experience coordinating with civilian populations, government agencies and partners, civil affairs expert Lt. Col. Stephen Ward joins the garrison leadership team as the "right person, at the right place, during the right time” to assist Col. Christopher Nyland, Fort Meade garrison commander, in meeting the challenges that Fort Meade faces.
Fort Meade, with its unique population and tenant units that support global operations around the world and domestic challenges here at home, has necessary interactions with military and civilian community leaders in the conduct of daily missions.
Ward took command of Headquarters Command Battalion - Fort Meade on June 30, 2020, and has dealt with a myriad of organizational and leadership challenges as a major garrison support operation for the 119 tenant organizations who call Fort Meade home. Supporting almost 57,000 employees who work on the Army’s second largest installation by population, Ward has not had the opportunity to “ease into the job.”
Unlike most Army posts, Fort Meade has service members from every branch of the military, not to mention the numbers of employees working for other federal and state agencies located on the installation. However, similar to other installations, the leadership on Fort Meade has encountered significant installation-wide issues in areas such as housing and service changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These and other issue require resourceful and different ways of employing resources to safely and securely protect the Fort Meade community, according to Ward.
“The HCB is truly the military arm of the garrison,” said Ward. “The battalion was instrumental during the housing crisis, conducting home inspections and taking the lead on creating a Housing Focus Group to ensure the residents in the Ft Meade community were heard. The battalion also took on the “no fail mission” of developing and conducting military funeral honors across a five state area, covering over 400 military funeral honors since its inception. Additionally, the battalion responded to the COVID pandemic with the professionalism, maturity and competency you would expect of the Soldiers. The HCB coordinated a number of safety measures with the tenant units on post to include pre-screening at a number of locations.”
Commissioned an Army second lieutenant in May 2002, Ward completing the Armor Officer’s Basic course and served his first assignment was 1-72 Armor Battalion, Camp Casey, South Korea, where he served as both a Tank and Mortar Platoon Leader. Upon completion of the Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection, he has served in several successive leadership positions in Army Special Operations Command as a company commander twice and operations chief in locations around the world. His last assignment, prior to assuming his current command, was as the Operations Officer for the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Ward is married to the former Amanda Park Sessoms from Wilmington, NC. They have two children, Jackson and Alexander. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor’s Degree in History, and holds a Master’s of Science in Technology Management degree from the Florida Institute of Technology.
“Nineteen years ago I bought my initial uniforms at the former PX which, at the time, was located where the Thrift Store is now. To be able to come back to the installation and support organizations that are at the technological tip of the spear is a true honor. Every day the battalion faces new challenges, but I appreciate the importance of the mission having been on the receiving end of the tireless work those units provide globally.”
Editor’s Note: The Army established the Headquarters Command Battalion on Feb. 9, 1971. Today, multiple military occupational specialties make up the Headquarters Battalion. The battalion has a truly unique mission and composition. Its personnel staff, Headquarters Command Battalion and the Installation Headquarters provide a broad spectrum of administrative and logistical support to the Fort Meade Community. The 241st Military Police Detachment provides security, traffic, and investigation support for Fort George G. Meade. The Military Working Dog Detachment provides Military Working Dogs to perform law and order on the installation. The Headquarters Company provides administrative and logistical support to several partner units. The Soldiers of Headquarters Command Battalion are committed to sustaining the highest state of readiness and providing the highest quality of service.