Parrott assumes command of 276th Engineers at Fort Pickett ceremony

Maj. Demetrius D. Parrott takes command of the Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion and addresses his Soldiers for the first time June 9, 2018, following his assumption of command from Lt. Col. Christopher S. Dunn at Fort Pickett, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Lyman)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – Maj. Demetrius Parrott took command of the Virginia National Guard’s Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group from Lt. Col. Christopher S. Dunn in a change of command ceremony June 9, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Col. Weedon Gallagher, the 329th RSG commander, presided over the exchange of unit colors that represented the transfer of command from Dunn to Parrott.

“Lt. Col. Dunn completed an extremely successful command tour,” said Gallagher. “Chris has been in the Engineer Battalion for 19 years; it’s hard to imagine the battalion without him. Of course, his thumbprint is indelibly placed on the fabric of engineer battalion.”

Gallagher thanked Dunn for his invaluable efforts to the 329th RSG.

“The 276th Engineer Battalion is the largest and most complex formation in the 329th RSG,” said Gallagher. “It takes an intelligent and energetic officer to command this formation. Lt. Col. Dunn is such an officer; thoughtful, dedicated and engaged with his Soldiers.”

Gallagher also welcomed Parrott back to the unit.

“Maj. Parrott is the perfect leader and engineer to carry on the gains made during Lt. Col. Dunn’s tenure. Demetrius has a wealth of experience in engineer formations and understands the essayons culture. His hands are already on the bangalore and pushing it forward,” he said.

Parrott recognized the Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers for their attendance and support.

“I previously served in the 276th Engineer Battalion from 2006-2012,” said Parrott. “I am truly humbled and honored to be given the privilege to come back and take command of this great unit. I look forward to all the opportunities and challenges that await us.”

Dunn assumed command of the 276th Engineer Battalion in August 2016. He earned his commission through Officer Candidate School, where he graduated in 1999. He began his military career with the 2-111th Field Artillery but found his platoon time with the 276th Engineer Battalion in Company A.

In 2003, Dunn mobilized with the 189th MRBC where he served as a company commander and later that year, he was assigned as the commander of Company B of the 276th Engineer Battalion. During this time, he deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From 2005 to 2010, Dunn served in a succession of positions including environmental officer and engineer for Joint Force Headquarters, assistant operations officer for the 276th Engineer Battalion and as the administrative officer for the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

In 2010, Dunn returned to the 276th Engineer Battalion where he served as the operations officer and as the battalion executive officer. Since 2014, Dunn has served in a fulltime capacity with the Virginia Army National Guard’s operations directorate and currently serves as the mobilization readiness officer.

Since 2016, Dunn has concurrently served in a traditional capacity of the commander of both the 276th Engineer Battalion and of the Virginia Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive, CBRNE, Enhanced Response Force Package, CERFP, in additional to his fulltime duties as the state mobilization readiness officer.

Parratt begun his military career in 2002, after serving as a unit supply specialist in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the field artillery branch. He served in the active component with the 1st Calvary Division and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

It was in 2006 where he left the active component to join the Virginia Army National Guard and served in the 276th Engineer Battalion, eventually taking command as the Forward Support Company commander, where he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

After redeployment, Parrott took command of the Headquarter Support Company. Parrott also served in the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion as the logistics officer and in 2012 he transferred to the Construction and Facility Management Office bwhere he served as an environmental officer.

In 2014 Parrott served as the assistant operations officer at the 183rd Regional Training Institute and most recently served with the 116th BSTB and the 229th brigade Engineer Battalion as the battalion operations officer and executive officer.

Parrott currently lives in Oak Park, Michigan, where he works as a federal law enforcement officer.

The change of command ceremony is a military tradition rooted in history in which uniquely developed flags for each organization are publicly exchanged from the hands of the former commander to the hands of the new commander. This ceremony symbolically marks the change of leadership in military organizations.