Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Signal soldiers welcome new commander


Photo by Shannon Showe

New 1110th Army Signal Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Karl Ginter, left, accepts battalion's guidon from 1108th Army Signal Brigade Commander Col. David Lopez while outgoing Commander Lt. Col. William Milani looks on.

Orange guidons of the U.S. Army Signal Corps snapped in a warm summer breeze during a change of command ceremony June 23 when Lt. Col. Karl Ginter took charge of the 1110th Army Signal Battalion from Lt. Col. William Milani.

The ceremony on the Blue and Gray Field marked the last change of command under the battalion colors of the 1110th Sig. Bn. which will be redesignated the 302nd Signal Battalion under the 21st Signal Brigade in October.

Col. David Lopez, commander of the 1108th Army Signal Brigade, welcomed Ginter, the 24th commander of the 1110th Sig. Bn. that traces its roots from the Pentagon to Fort Detrick when its mission was activated in 1961 as the East Coast Relay Station.

Lopez said the battalion was bidding farewell to Milani, a commander who puts families first and leaves a legacy of well trained soldiers.

He recalled Milani's three assignments at the battalion, first as a company commander, then battalion operations officer and finally the commander.

"He's positive proof that you can come home again," said Lopez, calling Milani, his wife Cynthia, and sons, William and Joseph, an "outstanding command team who set a standard to emulate."

Milani leaves for the National War College at Fort McNair, Va.

Lopez challenged Ginter, coming from the Pentagon as a Space Systems action officer, to continue the legacy of well trained soldiers and follow his command philosophy that focuses on fixes, not blame.

Ginter said the ceremony marked another chapter in the battalion's and his family's history.

"Never before has the mission of this battalion been more relevant," he said. "Whatever the mission is, we get the message through."

Re-enacting the history of today's signal corps dating from the Civil War were members of the U.S. Signal Corps Department of West Virginia, who stood atop a riser at the end of the parade field and sent a message to Ginter in semaphore that said: "Lt. Col. Ginter. Welcome to the 1110th Signal Battalion. The Gateway to the World."

The 398th Army Band from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., provided the spirited traditional music to the ceremony, sending Miliani off with the Army Song.

Ginter, a native of Carlisle, Pa., and his wife, Elizabeth, are the proud parents of newborn twins, Ava and Michael.