New commander takes charge of 91st Troop Command

Brig. Gen. Blake C. Ortner, the Virginia National Guard land component commander, presents Col. Marti J. Bissel with the organizational colors for the 91st Troop Command to signify her taking command from Col. Walter L. Mercer during a traditional change of command ceremony held Aug. 18, 2013, at Fort A. P. Hill. (Photo by Cotton uryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Brig. Gen. Blake C. Ortner, the Virginia National Guard land component commander, presents Col. Marti J. Bissel with the organizational colors for the 91st Troop Command to signify her taking command from Col. Walter L. Mercer during a traditional change of command ceremony held Aug. 18, 2013, at Fort A. P. Hill. (Photo by Cotton uryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

BOWLING GREEN, Va. — Col. Marti J. Bissell took command of the Bowling Green-based 91st Troop Command from Col. Walter L. Mercer in a traditional change of command ceremony held Aug. 18, 2013, at Fort A. P. Hill. Brig. Gen. Blake C. Ortner, the Virginia Army National Guard land component commander, presided over the exchange of unit colors that represented the transfer of command. Ortner awarded Mercer the Legion of Merit in recognition of his service as the commander of 91st Troop Command.

Mercer began his career as an Infantryman in the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment in 1982, before being commissioned from Virginia Tech in 1985 as a Distinguished Military Graduate and Regular Army Artillery Officer. His many assignments include platoon leader, company commander, assistant operations officer, OCS commandant, deputy information operations officer and commander of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. He was selected to be the first commander of the newly formed 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment and led the unit during a deployment to Iraq and Kuwait from 2007 to 2008. Mercer assumed command of the 91st Troop Command in August 2010 and will leave command to serve as the operations officer the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division.

Mercer is a graduate of the Airborne School, Infantry Officers Advanced Course, Combined Army Staff Service School, Command and General Staff College, the Resident U.S. Army War College and the Information Operations (FA 30) Course. He holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College, as well as a Masters in Educational Administration from VCU. His assignments include Germany, Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait as well as numerous locations throughout the Virginia Army National Guard.

Bissell is a distinguished military graduate of Oregon State University graduating in 1988 with a degree in accounting and a commission as an aviation officer. Over the course of her career, she served as a platoon leader, executive officer, VIP support platoon leader, assistant operations officer, company commander, aviation maintenance officer, assistant executive officer and assistant team chief and division aviation officer prior to her latest assignment as the commander of the Joint National Guard Augmentation Unit.

Bissell completed the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, Aviation Officer Advanced Course, UH-60 Blackhawk Qualification Course, Maintenance Manager and UH-60 Maintenance Test Pilot Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff Course, Reserve Component Multi Functional CSS School, and Command and General Staff College. She is currently enrolled in the Army War College distance program. Her assignments have taken her such places as Korea, Germany, Fort Riley, Kansas, Fort Belvoir, VA, Sandston, VA, Suffolk, VA and the Pentagon, Washington DC.

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View photos of the change of command ceremony on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157635128243337/