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NEWS | June 27, 2016

Zollar takes command of 183rd RTI

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Col. James A. Zollar takes command of the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute from Col. Thomas L. Morgan, III, June 26, 2016, in a traditional change of command ceremony at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Brig. Gen. Walter L. Mercer, the Virginia National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General – Army, presided over the exchange of unit colors that represented the transfer of command from Morgan to Zollar.

Zollar and Morgan both work full time for the Virginia National Guard. Zollar will continue to serve full time as the Virginia Army National Guard training and operations officer, then command 183rd RTI in a traditional Guard status. Morgan serves full time as the Virginia National Guard joint operations officer, and will now serve in that position in a traditional Guard status as well.

Located at Fort Pickett, the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute is comprised of the RTI Headquarters and three battalions. First Battalion conducts infantry training, including the 11B Infantryman Military Occupational Specialty Qualification Course, Light Leaders Course and rappel master, while 2nd Battalion conducts the 88M Motor Transport Operator Course. Third battalion includes both Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Candidate School and also trains Soldiers as military police officers.

The RTI includes 74 instructors supported by 32 staff personnel. The schoolhouse was completed in 2011 and includes approximately 400,000 square feet of instruction space, including a combatives training room, eight modular classrooms and a lecture hall capable of accommodating 480 students, along with three barracks with two-person rooms and open bay housing that can accommodate 275 students. At Fort Pickett, instructors and students can reach training sites within five minutes and that includes a variety of ranges, convoy and live fire lanes, an urban assault course, training villages, field training lanes, an air assault tower and an extensive urban training site.


Colonel James A. Zollar began his military service in 1984 at Fort Lewis, Washington, as an indirect fire infantryman, and he was commissioned in 1990 as an infantry second lieutenant through the Virginia Commonwealth University Reserve Officer Training Program. He also served as a military intelligence and engineer officer and has commanded at the company and battalion level as well as serving in staff positions at the battalion, brigade, Virginia Army National Guard Staff and Virginia National Guard Joint Staff.

COL Zollar has numerous individual awards and several permanent unit citations appropriate for his years of service and broad background.

He is a graduate of the United States Army War College with a Master’s degree in strategic Studies.


Colonel Thomas L. Morgan III is an Infantry officer with more than thirty years of service in the Virginia Army National Guard. He enlisted in 1983 as an Infantryman and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry upon graduation in 1987 from the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia as the Distinguished National Guard Honor Graduate. He is also branch qualified in the Adjutant General Corps.

He has commanded from detachment to battalion level prior to assuming command of the 183rd Regiment:
– Detachment 1, A Company 1-116th Infantry
– B Company 1-116th Infantry
– Virginia National Guard Officer Candidate School
– Recruiting and Retention Battalion
– 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment.

His staff assignments include VaNG OCS Training Officer; VaNG Plans and Operations Officer; S1/OIC, 183rd Regiment; VaNG Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Training; Deputy J3/2/6; VaNG G3, and J1, Director of Manpower and Personnel.

Morgan deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during 2010 and 2011 as the Chief of Afghan National Security Forces Field Assessments with the 29th Infantry Division Security Partnering Detachment in the International Security Assistance Forces Joint Command.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and Virginia Tech.

His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, 5 awards of the Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Air Assault Badge, National Guard Recruiting Badge, VaNG Bronze Star, the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award and others.


History of 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute

The Lineage of the 183D Regiment can be traced to December 6, 1957 with the creation of the Virginia Officer Candidate School (OCS) by Adjutant General Sheppard Crump. The school received Department of the Army accreditation on April 16, 1958.

In 1968 the Virginia Army National Guard was reorganized and during this reorganization the OCS staff became an element of the State Area Command as Detachment 2 (Det 2).

In 1972 the Virginia Noncommissioned Officers Academy (NCOA) was formed with the first graduating class on August 4, 1972 with 22 graduates.

In 1976 the OCS and NCOA programs were brought together under the newly formed Department of Military Instruction (DMI), Det 2 STARC at the Dove Street Armory in Richmond, VA.

In 1984 the NCOA conducted four separate courses; Primary for combat arms, Basic for combat support and service support, an advanced course and a senior course.

In 1986 DMI moved to Fort A.P. Hill, Bowling Green, VA and received Federal recognition on May 1, 1986. During this time the DMI became known as the Virginia Military Academy.

In October 1995 the Virginia Military Academy reorganized with the Light Leaders Course, Det 3 STARC (LLC) to become the 183D Regiment (RTI) and moved to Fort Pickett, Blackstone, VA.

In 2006, the 183D Regiment was organized into four Battalions, training Infantry, Artillery and Air Defense military occupational skills and all NCOES technical courses, as well as a multitude of Non-TASS courses.

In 2006, force structure changes in Virginia resulted in the loss of the regiment’s original lineage to the 2nd Squadron, 183rd Infantry. The unit designation remained the 183D Regiment (RTI) but the Distinctive Unit Insignia, Motto, Coat of Arms, and Regimental Colors changed.

In 2008, as a result of TASS transformation, the Regiment reorganized into three Battalions; Infantry, Transportation and a Modular Battalion. TDA size increased to one-hundred and four. The Modular Battalion is comprised of a Military Police Training Company, OCS Training Company, and WOCS.

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