CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — Lt. Col. K. Weedon Gallagher took command of the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group from Col. Michelle M. Rose at a change of command ceremony held Sept. 13, 2015, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. Va. Brig. Gen. Walter L. Mercer, the Virginia National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General – Army, presided over the exchange of unit colors that represented the transfer of command. Gallagher most recently served as the chief of protection for the 29th Infantry Division, and Rose will join the Virginia National Guard joint staff as director of strategic plans.
“I have served for many years with both of these officers, and I can tell you that the leadership of the 329th Regional Support Group is going from one strong leader to another,” Mercer said. He thanked the families of both Rose and Gallagher for the support that has been, and will continue to be, so critical to their successful military careers.
“You have shown a level of professionalism and leadership of the 329th that have made the senior leaders of the state proud, you have clearly earned the trust and respect of your Soldiers and leaders here today.,” he said of Rose. “We recognize your accomplishments and the impact you have had on the 329th and the Virginia Guard. I know you will continue to be a key leader that has a positive impact as you move into your next position.”
Mercer and Gallagher served together in the 29th Infantry Division. “I know that Lt. Col. Gallagher is a professional leader who gets results and he takes care of his people,” Mercer said. “I know you will continue to build on the achievements of Col. Rose’s leadership and you will lead with courage, compassion, Soldier care and integrity.”
Rose was the third commander of the 329th since it became a logistics command in 2008, and she described it as a diverse command made up of transporters, military police, contracting teams, maintenance and general logisticians.
“I can say without a doubt that this major subordinate command has definitely pulled its share of the load for the Virginia National Guard as well as the U. S. Army,” she said.
Rose said that the 329th has supported four major areas of effort: support to the U. S. Army here in the United States, support to international coalition partners both at home and overseas, partnering with other National Guard units and military services and providing capabilities to assist citizens during their time of need in the wake of severe weather in the commonwealth.
The missions themselves varied greatly including providing military police to assist with security operations during the presidential inauguration, transporting archives and artifacts for the Army museum at Fort Lee, moving Canadian Army equipment to Fort Pickett in support of Operation Southbound Trooper, transporting communications equipment for the Coast Guard and sheltering resources for the Virginia Air Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and numerous missions assisting fellow Virginians during severe flooding and snow at locations across the commonwealth.
Rose credited her battalion commanders for the leadership the provided as well as the critical role of senior noncommissioned officers “who really make things happen.”
In particular she recognized Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith as her battle buddy of seven years. Smith is the current 329th RSG command sergeant major, and they previously served together as the battalion command team for the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a federal deployment to Afghanistan. “A key part of the success of my command has been your presence,” she said.
Rose paid a special thanks to her husband and three children for their support through her three years of command and entire military career, as well as recognizing the importance of her civilian employer allowing her to balance her military obligations with civilian career.
“It’s all of you, my family, my coworkers, my fellow Guardsman that remind me of why we all are citizen-Soldiers, to protect not only our country, but our way of life, and most of all our families,” Rose said.
Gallagher shared three things with his new command: a commitment, a word about excellence and an order.
Based on advice from his father prior to his commissioning, he pledged his commitment to communicate down as readily as up and to share information that allows for decisive, information-based decision making for every leader and to always remember that every Soldier is someone’s child. He also said that no matter where he finds himself, he makes it a point to “identify a competent NCO and listen to what they have to say.”
He acknowledged that it is indisputable that the 329th exceeds standards and is among the best of similar units across the Army formation.
“This doesn’t happen by accident,” he said. “It happens, obviously, through hard, smart work by its members. We have units that draw the best that the commonwealth has to offer, and this is our strength. This level of excellence is a continuing journey, and we must recruit, train and retain great Soldiers so that we remain ready and relevant.”
Finally, Gallagher delivered the order that all standing operating procedures, polices and directives under the signature of Col. Rose remain in effect.
The Clifton Forge-based 29th Division Band provided ceremonial music for the event.
Rose graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, was commissioned Regular Army and entered active duty in 1990 into the Quartermaster Corps. While on active duty she as a platoon leader in in the 264th Transportation Company in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and later as executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 24th Transportation Battalion in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. She joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994, and she has served in a variety of staff and command positions in the 329th and 29th Infantry Division including commander of the 1710 Transportation Company and 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. She led the 529th during a deployment in 2010-2011 to Operation Enduring Freedom Shindand, Afghanistan. Prior to assuming command of the 329th, Rose served as the J8 resource manager on the Virginia National Guard joint staff. Her civilian and military education includes a masters in business administration from Hampton University and masters in strategic studies from the U. S. Army War College. Rose works full time as a system safety engineer for the U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis.
Gallagher graduated from Virginia Military Institute with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1991 and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Engineer branch the same year. He served in numerous command and staff positions in the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, including platoon leader, battalion staff officer and commander of Company B, 121st Engineer Battalion. He has deployed to Afghanistan three times including duty as the Kandahar Area Officer in Charge with the Afghanistan Engineer District and commander of 1297th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. After battalion command, he served as the Maryland National Guard’s state operations officer and then as the division engineer officer and chief of protection for the 29th Infantry Division. His military education includes a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and he is currently enrolled in Joint Forces College. Gallagher works full time as the owner of a small business specializing in facility management and electrical systems installations.