FORT LEE, Va. - Another officer with impeccable credentials began her tenure as a training battalion commander here following a June 7 ceremony in the Petroleum and Water Department’s Guest Auditorium.
Lt. Col. Heather M. Reilly has deployed six times over the past 15 years, serving with U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2015, her assignments have included an Operation Inherent Resolve deployment as the 82nd Airborne Division Secretary General Staff and a stint as legislative assistant to the Undersecretary of the Army in Washington, D.C. Most recently she served as the chief of the Commander’s Initiative Group at CASCOM.
The 19-year Army officer was handed the command flag of the 262nd Quartermaster “Life Line” Battalion at a standing-room-only event attended by numerous senior leaders and family member guests. Among them was Brig. Gen. Douglas McBride Jr., QM General; Brig. Gen. Heidi Hoyle, Chief of Ordnance; and John Hall, deputy to the commanding general of CASCOM and Fort Lee.
Lt. Col. Brian S. Neill, 23rd QM Brigade commander, presided over the event that included the usual formalities of receiving the unit colors from the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Anthony P. Marante, and presenting them to the incoming officer.
In remarks that followed the flag passing, Neill commended Marante for his accomplishments over the past 24 months. “You have carried out your duties magnificently,” he acknowledged. “After witnessing the quality of training that has occurred under your watch, I can tell you there are no Soldiers in the world I would rather receive fuel from; lab, water and field services from; legal support from than those who have graduated out of the Life Line battalion. You should be proud of everything you have accomplished.
“Rarely, have I seen anyone so passionate and talented at bringing out the best in junior Soldiers, officers and NCOs,” Neill further commented. “It is exciting to think every individual who has (moved on to other assignments) is carrying the gem of your passion with them, and it will hopefully serve as inspiration throughout their careers.”
The significance of Marante’s follow-on assignment was emphasized not only by Neill, but also McBride during a preceding award ceremony in which the outgoing commander received a Meritorious Service Medal and was inducted into the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin. Marante’s spouse, Fiorella, received the Catherine Green Award.
“Your selection to serve as the G4 for the 82nd Airborne Division is a high honor,” Neill said with similar phrasing to McBride who emphasized the extensive scrutiny by high-level leaders to ensure the right officer is selected for the job. “You will be overseeing logistics support for one of the premier war-fighting contingents of the United States Army,” Neill pointed out. “It is indicative of the confidence our leaders have in you. Congratulations, you earned it.”
Turning his attention to Reilly, the Dragon Brigade commander’s message was a simple “welcome to the family,” referencing the close-knit relationships within the organization, the QM School and CASCOM. “You have been entrusted with the welfare of America’s sons and daughters,” Neill further emphasized. “Take them. Mold them into Soldiers who are as exemplary as you have been your entire career. They are the next generation of the QM Corps, and they will reflect the professional standards you impose upon them.”
Marante’s parting comments were mostly focused on the contributions of others.
“I stand here before you as a product of the selfless support given to me by so many Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians,” he observed. “I cannot adequately express my gratitude for your guidance, professionalism, camaraderie and friendship.
“As a commander, my greatest pride has been in the development, growth and accomplishment of our Soldiers in formation,” Marante said. “I’ve had the opportunity to know some of the best trainers in the Army. … These individuals wake up earlier than most every single day. They spend countless hours, including weekends and nights, taking care of Soldiers and executing the training mission, a commitment that often means valuable time away from their families and other personal matters. They make this sacrifice because they believe in the success of the organization, the corps, and ultimately, the Army. To them, I offer my gratitude and deepest respect.”
Speaking to the incoming commander, Marante said, “Heather, you’re taking command of the largest, most complex AIT QM battalion in TRADOC. They will give it their all – trust me, I’ve seen it. I wish you all the best as you write the next exciting chapter of this organization’s history.”
Reilly thanked the brigade and QM School leaders for having the faith and confidence in her to be given the privilege of commanding the Life Line Battalion.
“I am humbled by this opportunity,” she said. “To the leaders and Soldiers of the 262nd QM Battalion, I look forward to this command opportunity and working as a team to build the story of accomplishment that is focused on providing our Army with day-one-ready Soldiers.”