August 13, 2015 – Wildcat Battalion leader Lt. Col. Joel Davis said farewell to cadets, faculty and staff during a Change of Command Ceremony on July 30 in the Student Amenities Building. During the event, the campus also welcomed in the new battalion commander, Lt. Col. Oliver Walton to the leadership post.
The ROTC leadership changed the command during an official ceremony filled with symbolism. First Sgt. Scottie Johnson handed the Wildcat Battalion Colors to outgoing commander Lt. Col. Davis, who then handed them to FVSU interim president Dr. Jessica Bailey. The interim president delivered the colors to the new commander, Lt. Col. Walton.
According to statement made by Capt. Darius White at the ceremony, the passing of the colors in the Wildcat Battalion is a longstanding tradition that transfers of the leadership responsibility from one commander to another one.
FVSU interim president Bailey told the crowd that outgoing commander Davis assisted students with their future endeavors. She stated that his drive, passion and commitment to the mission of the Army was worthy of the highest accomplishments.
“Thank you for your sacrifice and commitment to excellence,” Bailey said. “It is a great performance for an officer and a gentleman: a job well done.”
Bailey also welcomed incoming commander Walton to campus.
“Our campus is confident that Lt. Col. Walton’s skills and expertise speak highly of his character to lead our students,” Bailey said. “We look forward to this partnership as we move forward in excellence.”
After Albany State University Military Liaison Cmdr. Claven Williams spoke well wishes to both men, Lt. Col. Davis addressed the crowd. He told the crowd his mission at Fort Valley State was hard, but right.
“You can do the hard right thing, or the easy wrong thing,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to step out of your comfort zone and do the right thing. It’s truly a great day to be an American and I am proud to have served the students at FVSU and ASU. This was one of my most fulfilling command positions in 30 years.”
Davis said the Army is a diverse organization that prepares men and women that are willing to put forth the service and sacrifice and mold them into successful individuals.
“I’ve seen men and women who were lost, but chose the ROTC for their path of success,” he said. “It was the tough, but right thing to do.” He said he encouraged children to get up early to do physical fitness and train all day and late into the night.
Davis said he was also grateful to have a staff – including FVSU battalion staff members Gina Connor, Helen D. Florence and Katina Wheeler – who were committed to the success of his organization. He told the audience Walton is a capable commander who would lead the Battalion well. Davis then gave a coin of excellence to interim FVSU president Dr. Jessica Bailey for her contributions to the battalion.
After Davis’ remarks, Oliver addressed the crowd.
“The objective of today is to honor the hard work of Davis,” he said. “Ladies and gentleman thank you for attending today. Your presence elevates what is already an esteemed occasion.”
The program ended with a small reception.
Christina D. Milton, public relations specialist
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(478) 825-6319, firstname.lastname@example.org