Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Stone
43rd Sustainment BrigadePublic Affairs Office
Col. Anthony K. “Kirk” Whitson assumed command of the 43rd Sustainment Brigade during a ceremony at the Special Events Center, Dec. 5, replacing Col. Todd Heussner.
When Heussner deployed with the brigade command in February, Whitson assumed provisional command, as Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, noted in his speech.
“It is rare that an incoming brigade commander has spent time in command as Col. Kirk Whitson has done this past year,” said Bills. “Kirk stepped up, willing to meet the needs of the brigade and the division.”
After assuming command, Whitson addressed the attendees and gathered Soldiers.
“Brig. Gen. Bills, thank you for the passing grade on phase one of the operation; it allows me to go on to phase two,” said Whitson. “I want to thank ‘Iron Horse 6’ for giving me the amazing opportunity and privilege to command our nation’s greatest treasure; you see them standing before you today. I will do everything in my power to give them the leadership they deserve.”
Whitson, a prior enlisted Soldier, received his commission in 1990. He holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies. He has deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
During a recent deployment to Kandahar Afghanistan, Heussner and his team served as headquarters of the U.S. Central Command Materiel Recovery Element mission. The CMRE closed more than 150 U.S. bases while eliminating almost 5,000 20-foot containers of excess equipment backlog. The “Rough Riders” Soldiers also safely conducted more than 175 combat patrols on some of the most dangerous routes in Afghanistan.
“In Afghanistan, we had about 4,000 folks,” said Heussner. “Two engineer battalions, and our (68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion), and all the associated Soldiers, and we brought every one of them back home safely. If you ask me what I’m most proud of, that would be it.”
Following nearly 30 months in command, Heussner moves on to his next assignment as the chief of the logistics division at CENTCOM in Tampa, Fla.