Photo by Laura Almaraz
Incoming company commander Capt. Erik R. Carroll addressed the crowd at a Change of Command Ceremony at Parade Field July 11. Carroll assumed command of the 573rd Clearance Company from outgoing company commander Capt. Michael L. Mitchell
By Adriana Salas
The 573rd Clearance Co. said farewell to Capt. Michael Mitchell and welcomed Capt. Erik Carroll as their new company commander during a change of command ceremony held at the 2nd Engineer Battalion Parade Field July 11. 2nd Engineer Battalion Commander Lt. Col. James R. Koeppen hosted what will most likely be one of the last change of command ceremonies for the departing company.
“The Soldiers in front of you remain proud and cohesive. This has been an extremely busy unit,” Koeppen said.
“Erik, we look forward to supporting you in your new role as a commander. Thank you (and your wife) both in advance for your services,” he added.
Carroll assumed responsibility during a time of transition for the company. The company will be departing from WSMR to Fort Polk, Louisiana by the summer of 2015. Carroll brings a unique array of experience having served with the U.S. Navy as a helicopter aircrewman and a search-and-rescue swimmer for nine years. Carroll holds a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University. His awards include the Navy Marine Corps medal and the Bronze Star medal among others.
“Thank you for making this transition as seamless as possible,” Carroll said to Mitchell.
“I feel honored and extremely lucky to be a part of this team and I have no doubt we’ll be successful at any mission we undertake,” he added.
Mitchell, who currently holds a master’s degree in business administration from Missouri Science and Technology, will be attending graduate school at Georgia Technical Institute where he will be obtaining a degree in construction management. Mitchell has served as the company commander for one year and through two deployments.
“I am extremely grateful that I could serve in this capacity during this time,” Mitchell said.
“It’s not about me. This has absolutely nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with you, the men and women, the Soldier that are here today,” Mitchell said.
His wife Ashley, served a vital role in the company’s Family Readiness Group. Ashley was recognized for her contributions to the group with a plaque presented to her by Koeppen, before the ceremony.
“She has been a tremendous help for both me and the company,” Mitchell said. “She’s always had the interest of the Soldiers and the families first and foremost.”
A reception was held at the 2E Headquarters after the ceremony.