529th CSSB welcomes new commander, receives recognition from Governor

Maj. Michael Waterman recieves the guidon of the 529th Combat Sustainment Spport Battalion from Col. Michelle Rose, commander of the 329th Regional Spport Group during a change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Michael Waterman recieves the guidon of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from Col. Michelle Rose, commander of the 329th Regional Support Group, during a change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Beach, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion welcomed a familiar face as Maj. Michael Waterman assumed command of the battalion during a change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. Col. Michelle Rose, commander of the 329th RSG, presided over the exchange of unit colors between Waterman and Maj. Geoffrey O’Neill, the outgoing commander.

In addition, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Brian R. Swann presented a Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor Bob McDonnell in honor of the 529th earning the Milton A. Reckord Award from the National Guard Association.

“This country and Virginia depend on the National Guard,” Swann said. “I deeply respect what you do. From your recent deployment to Afghanistan to your service to this great commonwealth, you are ready, relevant, resilient and responsive to the needs of the people you serve.”

The Reckord Award is presented each training year to a battalion that demonstrates superior performance in the areas of personnel strength, retention, duty military occupational specialty qualification, individual and crew served weapons qualification, the Army Physical Fitness Test, drill weekend attendance and annual training attendance and also demonstrates a commitment to the welfare of its members, their families and to its communities during the training year.

“It’s impressive what you’ve accomplished over the past two years since the battalion headquarters returned from Afghanistan,” Swann said. “You’ve managed to not only meet the standard but exceed it in many ways. The governor could not be more pleased with what you’ve accomplished.”

Waterman assumes command of the 529th after previously serving as a staff officer in the unit during its 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.

Maj. Geoffrey O’Neill, the outgoing commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion receives a farewell gift at the 529th CSSB change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Geoffrey O’Neill, the outgoing commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion receives a farewell gift at the 529th CSSB change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

A resident of Virginia Beach, Waterman received his commission in 1995 from the U.S. Military Academy and has served in various command and staff positions both on active duty and with the Virginia National Guard.“It’s truly an honor for me to command the 529th CSSB,” Waterman said. “I truly feel like I am coming back home. Not only do I live about five minutes away but from serving with about five different units in the 329th, I feel like this is where I truly belong and where I have grown and learned the most throughout my military career. From Iraq to Afghanistan and countless other missions in between, the 529th has been there every time and excelled every single time. It’s truly humbling and an honor to be selected to lead this battalion.”

“Taking command after Maj. O’Neill is a tough act to follow,” Waterman added. “I’m extremely fortunate to command a battalion focused on excellence.” Rose praised both the outgoing and the incoming commander for their expertise and leadership abilities. She expressed confidence in their ability to carry the 529th CSSB, as well as the 329th RSG, forward into the future.

“Maj. O’Neill has successfully taken the battalion to the next level during his tenure,” Rose said. “This perseverance paid off when the battalion was recently recognized with national and state awards for its accomplishments. Geoff, with your expertise and leadership, I can say without a doubt this unit is of full maturity, relevant and ready for a federal and state mission that are bound to come its way in the next few years.”

“Maj. Waterman, with your varied background in logistics I have no doubt you are ready to lead this battalion of warrior logisticians back to the battlefield be it in the Middle East or the Commonwealth of Virginia,” she added. “You are by far one of the best logisticians in the field and I have the utmost confidence in your leadership capabilities to continue the fine tradition of the 529th leading the way in sustainment operational support to our armed and coalition forces.”

O’Neill will now serve as the executive officer of the 329th RSG. A resident of Gloucester, he is a 1995 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College with a bachelor’s degree in history. He completed a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in 2008.

“This has been the best and most rewarding duty assignment I’ve ever had because of the opportunity to work with the Soldiers, NCOs and officers of this battalion,” O’Neill said. “No matter what I’ve asked, you guys have taken the ball and run with it and succeeded. When given the opportunity to take challenges, you’ve done so without hesitation. You’ve proven over and over again you are the best. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

For more photos: 529th CSSB welcomes new commander, receives recognition from Governor

Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Brian R. Swann presents a Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor Bob McDonnell to Maj. Geoffrey O’Neill, the outgoing commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. The 529th CSSB was honored for earning the Milton A. Reckord Award, which is presented each year by the National Guard Association to a battalion that demonstrates superior performance. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Brian R. Swann presents a Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor Bob McDonnell to Maj. Geoffrey O’Neill, the outgoing commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a change of command ceremony June 15, 2013, at the Camp Pendleton Parade Field in Virginia Beach. The 529th CSSB was honored for earning the Milton A. Reckord Award, which is presented each year by the National Guard Association to a battalion that demonstrates superior performance. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)