New field-grade officers help lead 116th IBCT into a big year

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Col. John Epperly (right), commander of the 116th IBCT, promotes Maj. Chris Samulski to lieutenant colonel Aug. 3, 2013, in Staunton, Va. Samulski, who previously served as the brigade operations officer, will now serve as the executive officer for the 116th IBCT. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

STAUNTON, Va. — Headquarters Company of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team added to its field-grade officer ranks Aug. 3, 2013, with the promotions of Maj. Brian Gallavan and Lt. Col. Chris Samulski in Staunton, Va. The officers’ wives had the honor of pinning on their husbands’ new ranks.

“It was great to have my family with me today,” said Gallavan. “Since 2001, I’ve spent about six years on active duty, between deployments and schools. They’ve stuck by me and supported me all along the way.”

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Capt. Brian Gallavan is promoted to the rank of major Aug. 3, 2013, in Staunton, Va. Gallavan, who previously served as the commander of Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, will now serve as the new 116th IBCT operations planner, responsible for projecting long-term training objectives. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

Gallavan, who enlisted 20 years ago in Richmond, Va., will serve as the new brigade operations planner, responsible for projecting long-term training objectives. He came to the brigade headquarters from Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, where he served as commander.Samulski will use his 17 years of experience as the new executive officer for the brigade managing the large staff responsible for the brigade’s diverse units. He has a short move from his previous office as the brigade operations officer.

“There’s a lot of good buzz going about the brigade, with some really exciting things coming down the pipeline,” said Gallavan.

“This is going to be a busy year for us between Warfighter and the Exportable Combat Training Capability evaluation, both leading up to our Joint Reserve Training Center rotation in 2015,” said Samulski.

In May the brigade staff will participate in a Warfighter exercise at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., demonstrating their proficiency in the military decision-making process in a simulated combat environment.

During annual training in June, the battalions within the brigade will be evaluated through the XCTC program. The instrumented combat-readiness exercises of the program develop the Soldier’s necessary skills prior to deployment.

Both of these events are helping the unit to prepare for its 2015 rotation at the JRTC in Fort Polk, La. The 116th IBCT was one of two brigades selected by the National Guard Bureau to attend JRTC in 2015.

“We’re happy to have these two officers on board in these critical billets, now we need to focus on stabilizing the battle staff through these interim objectives, Warfighter and XCTC, into 2015,” said Col. John Epperly, commander of the 116th IBCT. “We have extended our short term planning horizon from 12 to 20 months in order to better integrate our training objectives and plans for the JRTC rotation in 2015. Success over the next 20 months will ensure the BCT is combat ready for a potential deployment in TY 16.”