Col. Scott D. King, who was interim commandant of the Armor School at Fort Benning, assumed command of the 194th Armored Brigade today during a ceremony at Brave Rifles Field.
Its a very awesome feeling, King said after the ceremony at Harmony Church. Im very proud to be going to this brigade.
King assumed command from Col. Kevin S. MacWatters who is headed to Afghanistan.
The brigade dates back to 1921 when it was established in New Hampshire. In 2011, it was part of the Armor School when it moved from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Benning as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. With more than 1,500 soldiers assigned, the brigade is directly responsible for training more than 18,000 civilians into professional soldiers each year.
Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, noted how MacWatters integrated new training techniques in the brigade and graduated its first five women soldiers as mechanics for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle last month. The training was historic because the job is among 237,000 positions that moved women closer to the front lines of combat.
As he takes over the brigade, King said the role of women is very gender neutral and hes sure they will excel.
I think we are all about having talent management get the best people who is available and who will do the best job, King said. Its very gender neutral. We have less than one percent of the people actually volunteer. Were grateful for those patriots that do and we are looking forward to working with them and Im sure they will excel.
No standards were changed for the five women soldiers who competed with 30 male soldiers to finish the 14-week course. Mechanics serve in during training or while under fire in a war zone.
As long as we put steel on the target for the armor and do the right job as scouts, everything will work out for the best, King said. There may be other changes for the armor brigade.
The big Army has plans for us I think as we continue to change and evolve and meet the worlds demands, King said. This is a great brigade, having the infantry and armor and cavalry together.
King was already familiar with the armored brigade, having served as director of the Armor School at Fort Knox. Coming to Fort Benning has been a great experience, he said. People walk the talk here in south Columbus and the Columbus area, he said. They make you feel very welcome. When they say what can I do for you, they mean it. Its a great experience here. Its great to be part of this community.
King, a native of Kansas, served as interim commandant to fill the position left vacant by Brig. Gen. Paul J. Laughlin in April. He and his wife Debbie have four children. two boys and two girls.
Col. John C. Hermeling is the new interim commandant of the Armor School. A post official said Hermeling will serve as the deputy after a permanent commandant is selected.