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Soldiers, civilians, friends and Family members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit welcomed a new commander on Wednesday to the Home of Champions.
Lt. Col. Don King Jr. assumed command from Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne at the units Ceremony Hill near Pool Range Complex on post. Hodne, who commanded the unit for three years, is headed to the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
The mission of any battalion commander is a challenging one, said Col. Mark Rado, commander, Accessions Support Brigade, and the reviewing officer. Apart from the high-profile events like the Olympics and national and international competitions where USAMU Soldiers represent this Army and this nation so well, there is the units real-world mission of supporting the warfighter.
I know based on his great experience and his great background as a Soldier and as an officer that Lt. Col. King is the right guy at the right place to take this unit to new levels as we move forward.
King becomes the 20th commander of the USAMU after his stint as the director of Human Dynamics for the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, N.C. The organization is responsible for assessment and selection of Special Operations Soldiers and multiple human-performance programs that are designed to optimize the potential, performance, longevity and resilience of ARSOF Soldiers.
King enlisted in the Army in 1986 and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as an Infantryman. In 1991, he attended the Special Forces Qualification Course and graduated as a Special Forces Medic and, in 1995, was commissioned a second lieutenant through Officer Candidate School. In 2001 King completed the Special Forces Detachment Officers Qualification Course and was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
King has deployed numerous times in support of overseas contingency operations, including Operation Just Cause in Panama and multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. King deployed to Iraq as the executive officer to the deputy commanding general of Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command and the commanding general of a Joint Interagency Task Force.
Over these last three years the unit has undergone its most significant transformation in (its) 56-year history, King said. Thats impressive. This was due to the vision, leadership and hard work of every individual standing on the parade field today.
As I take command, I look forward to continuing this transformation and expanding the roles and capabilities of this great organization.
Hodne led a makeover after taking the helm of the USAMU in April 2009. Under his leadership the unit achieved many firsts and bests, consistently making Army history. His unit showcased the Army, raised marksmanship proficiency Armywide and led the Armys precision small arms innovations.
As this units 19th commander, to have served with such a remarkable team of Soldiers, civilians and family members, is a life experience for which I will be forever grateful, Hodne said. As I watch from afar, I know that this unit will always successfully execute its mission in a manner and with a flair ... like no other.