Fort Polk change of command

Col. Jarrett Thomas II and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson (Fort Polk)

FORT POLK, La. (Fort Polk Press Release) - Col. David "Gregg" Athey, garrison commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. David Pitt, garrison command sergeant major, will be replaced by Col. Jarrett Thomas II and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson.

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 13. Awards at 8:30 a.m. and the ceremony at 9 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Brenda Lee McCullough, Installation Management Command readiness director.

Athey took garrison command of Fort Polk on June 19, 2015. Pitt became the top garrison enlisted Soldier the same day.

During his tenure as Fort Polk's mayor, Athey has led the supported population of more than 32,000 Soldiers, civilians, Family members and retirees, and managed the more than 240,000 acres of training and cantonment areas of Fort Polk.

Among Athey's priorities has been the Education Initiative, a partnership between Fort Polk, the Vernon Parish School Board and Fort Polk Progress -- a regional group that takes a proactive stance in promoting Fort Polk. In the last several years, the initiative has garnered more than $3 million in grants and more than $42 million in school renovation and new construction.

Along with other initiatives, Pitt focused on the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, helping to increase the group's community service hours from zero to more than 2,000 within 18 months. He was also instrumental in promoting the Soldier For Life -Transition Assistance Program Career Skills effort, increasing program offerings from one to three. He personally interviewed every candidate for the welding, pipefitting and electrical programs, leading to a successful graduation and job placement rate of 90 percent.

Both Athey and Pitt leave for IMCOM Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

Incoming garrison commander Thomas is a native of Ohio. He received an Army commission as an adjutant general officer in 1996. Dodson is a native of Kansas and entered the Army June 28, 1995.

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