Lt. Col. Travis Thompson assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment replacing Lt. Col. Shawn Klawunder during a change of command ceremony at Kanell Field.
“The very soul of a battalion is symbolized by the colors you watched passed between Lt. Col. Klawunder and Lt. Col. Thompson,” said Col. Bruce Parker, the 198th Infantry Brigade commander and reviewing officer for the April 5 ceremony. “Those colors embody the history, traditions and accomplishment of the unit they represent.”
Parker said Thompson has a great reputation as a leader and trainer and was ready to command the battalion.Thompson, whose previous assignment was as lead planner of the Unified Endeavor Exercise Program at Forces Command headquarters in Atlanta, said it was an honor to command the battalion.
“I look forward to working with each of you in the incredibly important, difficult, and rewarding opportunity to train these Soldiers in the basic skills that will be necessary to serve in today’s Army,” he said.
The battalion, Parker said, executed the onward movement of five basic training companies, the movement of 15,000 Soldiers during holiday block leave without incident, the reception and integration of four Infantry OSUT companies, as well as transitioning its headquarters from the 192nd Infantry Brigade to the 198th — all under the command of Klawunder.
“There are few leaders with the patience to execute these missions as well as Shawn Klawunder and the end result was reflected in the 6,300 Soldiers that graduated from Sand Hill under his command,” Parker said.
Klawunder said when he first arrived at Fort Benning less than three years ago, he didn’t think civilians could be turned into Infantrymen in only 14 weeks.
But being at Sand Hill made him think otherwise.
“Cycle after cycle, I saw civilians enter the battalion and undergo an unbelievable transformation. We make Soldiers proud of their accomplishments,” he said.
He praised drill sergeants for the responsibility they had in making Soldiers.
“The one person (Soldiers) would remember would be their drill sergeant — the person who made them a Soldier,” Klawunder said. “And 30 years from now when someone asks me about my experience in the Army, I’ll tell them that I’m a Raider and I had the opportunity, the privilege, if only for a short while, to serve the men such as these.”
Klawunder’s next assignment will be as the deputy commander for the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo.