Regional support group welcomes new commander

Regional support group welcomes new commander

Col. Kipling V. Kahler, incoming 198th Regional Support Brigade commander, accepts the colors from Brig. Gen. William A. Hall, Arizona Army National Guard Land Component commander, during a change of command ceremony Oct. 18, at Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix. Kahler, formerly the deputy commander for the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, is taking over command of the 198th RSG from Lt. Col. Gary L. Sheppard. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour)

PHOENIX - A change of command and responsibility ceremony took place for the Soldiers of the 198th Regional Support Group, at Papago Park Military Reservation, here Oct. 18. Nearly 200 Soldiers, along with several family members and friends, were in attendance to welcome and bid farewell to the incoming and outgoing leadership.


The 1,266 Soldiers of the 198th RSG make up a headquarters, headquarters detachments, a combat service support battalion, and a transportation battalion. Its mission is to provide mission command, structure for non-major combat operations, and assist active and Reserve Component units with training, readiness, and deployment requirements.


Lt. Col. Gary Sheppard, the outgoing group commander, served as acting commander since February, and his successor, Col. Kipling Kahler, comes to the unit from serving as the deputy commander of Arizona’s 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.


“I know it has been difficult dealing with change but we have overcome challenges and steered the ship on the right course,” Sheppard said. “I know that Colonel Kahler will do great things for this unit and take care of the best group of Soldiers in the Arizona Guard.”


The group’s outgoing senior enlisted member, Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Almendarez, assumed his new duties to help lead the Arizona Army National Guard’s personnel, or G1, section. Command Sgt. Maj. Fidel Zamora assumed duties as the 198th’s command sergeant major. Zamora also comes from the 158th.


“It has been an honor to have served as the command sergeant major for the 198th RSG for the past few years, and I cannot express my gratitude for what this organization has accomplished for the brigade and the state of Arizona so far,” Almendarez said.


During the ceremony, Kahler welcomed Tom and Patty Rabjohn as special guests, the parents of Staff Sgt. Thomas Rabjohn, and presented them with the Bronze Star Medal. Sergeant Rabjohn was killed in action in October 2009 while serving with the 363rd Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.


“No greater honor can be demonstrated by his ultimate sacrifice, and he will forever be remembered for his actions,” Kahler said.


 “As one commander leaves and another steps in, I have two points of guidance for you, which are the arts and the sciences of leadership,” said Brig. Gen. William A. Hall, the land component commander for the Arizona Army National Guard. “The art is having the accountability to mentor and train our great Soldiers; the science is to know your Soldiers as well as you know your equipment and weapons.”