Aug. 10, 2010

Mercer takes charge of 91st Troop Command

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Col. Walt Mercer assumed command of the Sandston-based 91st Troop Command from Col. Steve Scott in a change of command ceremony held July 29 at Fort Pickett. Scott was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and recognized for his outstanding leadership during his time in command that had the highest operational tempo in the unit’s history.

 
Col. Walt Mercer receives the 91st Troop Command colors from Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the adjutant general of Virginia, signifying his assumption of command of the unit from Col. Steve Scott in a change of command ceremony held July 29 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

“I have known both of these men since they were majors and captains, and I am proud to see they have risen to this level of command and are leading our fine Soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “These gentlemen represent what I expect in leaders because they care about their Soldiers, we trust them and they are committed to excellence.”

During Scott’s time in command, the 91st Troop Command supported multiple federal unit mobilizations for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan while at the same time provided the command and control headquarters for Joint Task Force 91 during the Virginia Guard’s historic winter storm response in December 2009 and January and February 2010.

“It has been a distinct honor and pleasure to command 91st Troop Command these last two years,” Scott said. “Troop Command is a unique organization and brings with it its own set of unique challenges.” Scott pointed out that 91st Troop Command is the second largest major subordinate command in the Virginia Guard, and he recognized his trio of command sergeants major and brigade headquarters staff for their outstanding support for Soldiers supporting the nation’s fight in the Global War on Terror.

“To the Soldiers of the brigade, I stand in awe of your many accomplishments,” Scott said. “You continuously and professionally render outstanding service to both commonwealth and nation, and you have earned your place among the many distinguished units who have fought our nations wars.”

“Today I assume command of 91st Troop Command from a great officer,” Mercer said. “I can see the great success and growth the unit has had over the last two years, and he was the key to that. This is a great team of motivated Soldiers, experienced NCOs with an excellent staff and group of commanders.”

 

Col. Steve Scott receives the 91st Troop Command colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Henry Motley, the command sergeant major of 91st Troop Command, prior to passing the colors to Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the adjutant general of Virginia, signifying his relinquishing of command of the unit to Col. Walt Mercer in a change of command ceremony held July 29 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

Mercer said the Soldiers of the 91st have a well-deserved reputation of service both during recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as during domestic response operations during the winter snow storms. “I look forward to serving with each of you, and it is my privilege to serve as your commander,” he said.

Scott earned his commission through ROTC at Furman University where he was a distinguished military graduate and commissioned as a field artillery officer in 1982.  He also holds masters degrees in education administration from the University of South Carolina and in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. Scott's previous assignments include operations officer of the 29th Infantry Division, deputy commander for civil-military operations for the Task Force Falcon KFOR 8 rotation in Kosovo and commander of 1st Battalion, 246th Field Artillery.

Mercer began his military career as an enlisted infantryman 28 years ago with the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment.  After completing commissioning requirements at Virginia Tech, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1985 and served for several years on active duty in Germany. 

Mercer’s assignments include a deployment to Bosnia from 2001-2002 as the deputy information operations officer for Task Force EAGLE, and in 2005 he was assigned as the first squadron commander of the newly formed 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry in Portsmouth, and he commanded the squadron during their mobilization to Iraq and Kuwait from 2007-2008. Mercer served as the commander of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute at Fort Pickett until his selection to attend the U.S. Army War College as a resident student from July 2009 to June 2010.

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