FORT PICKETT, Va. –
Col. Todd Hubbard took command of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute from Col. James A. Zollar June 24, 2018, in a traditional change of command ceremony held at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Brig. Gen. Walter L. Mercer, Assistant Adjutant General – Army for the Virginia National Guard, presided over the guidon exchange that signified the transfer of command from Zollar to Hubbard.
The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that dates back to medieval times. Throughout military history, unit colors have marked the position of the commander on the battlefield and have served as a rallying point. The colors represent the heritage and history of the unit, as well as the unity and loyalty of its Soldiers and they serve as the commander’s symbol of authority, according to Maj. Peter Brooks, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event.
During the ceremony, 183rd RTI Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Stanley brought forward the unit colors, then passed them to Zollar which signified his last act of allegiance to him as commander. Zollar then passed the colors to Mercer, signifying the unit is never without officer leadership. Mercer than passed the guidon to Hubbard, signifying the passing of his trust as well as the responsibility for the unit and its Soldiers. Finally, Hubbard passed the colors back to Stanely.
Mercer praised both Zollar and Hubbard during his remarks, and said of Zollar, “He’s a leader who gets results, he takes care of the team and he lives by the Army Values.”
“Col. Zollar expanded the number of courses taught at the RTI, he’s opened up instructor skill sets to the state, he’s instituted a crew-served weapons course […], and he’s offered up a mortar leaders course,” Mercer said. “He’s increased the strength of the RTI and ensured that the RTI is getting some of the best-qualified instructors in the state.”
Zollar took command of the 183rd RTI almost exactly two years ago and said, when he first took command, he thought he knew what the RTI did, but quickly realized the much more there was to the unit.
“What we do, we take a simple raw piece of material and we turn it into this multifunctional tool,” Zollar said. He credited the noncommissioned offers assigned to the RTI as professional, agile and outstanding and thanked his family for their support over the years.
To Hubbard, Mercer said, “You’ve done great work at all the levels you’ve worked at. Welcome to the RTI, you’re now the brigade commander. I look forward to seeing you do great things as the commander.”
Hubbard thanked his family and said, “Without our families, we just couldn’t be Soldiers like we are.”
“I’m honored to be selected for the command of this organization,” Hubbard said. “I’ve always heard good things and I’ve always been impressed by this organization.”
Both Hubbard and Zollar serve full-time with the Virginia National Guard. Hubbard is the Director of Operations while Zollar is the Army Chief of Staff.
Additional Biographical Information:
Col. James A. Zollar is an engineer officer who started his military career in 1984 as an infantryman and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1990 after completing the ROTC program at Virginia Commonwealth University as a distinguished military graduate.
Zollar commanded at the company and battalion level and has held staff positions at the battalion, brigade, division level within the Virginia Army National Guard. He served on the Virginia National Guard’s Joint Staff as the Director of Operations where he directed response efforts to natural disasters and other incidents within the commonwealth.
Zollar deployed with the 276th Engineer Battalion twice, first to Iraq in 2003 and then to Afghanistan in 2009. He also deployed to Egypt in support of Multinational Force and Observers mission in 1996.
Zollar holds a bachelor’s degree from VCU and is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College. As a full-time member of the Virginia National Guard, he’s served in multiple positions, most recently as the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Training. He currently serves as the Army Chief of Staff.
Col. Todd Hubbard began his military career in 1991 when he commissioned into the Virginia National Guard as an artillery officer after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute.
During his 27 years of military service, Hubbard served in variety of positions, including as battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery, the commander of the Virginia National Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Response Force Package and the commander of the 116th Military Engagement Team. He most recently served as the Joint Exercise Director for the Virginia National Guard where he was responsible for planning Virginia’s Vigilant Guard Exercise. He now serves full-time as the Director of Operations.
Hubbard’s military education includes Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff Officer Course, Operational Electronic Warfare and the U.S. Army War College.