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 April 23, 2010


RTC-Central looks to busy training year, welcomes new command

Regional Training Center (RTC)-Central’s new command team expects to build on its past successes and anticipates training at least 15 percent more Soldiers this year than last year. The organization has helped prepare approximately 7,000 Army Reserve Soldiers for theater deployment since standing up almost two years ago in May 2008.
PHOTO: Lt. Col. (promotable) James P. Erdie, RTC-Central commander.

Previously known as RTC-North, RTC-Central is one of three RTCs tasked with preparing Army Reserve Soldiers for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. The other RTCs are RTC-East located at Fort Dix, N.J., and RTC-West located at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.

In addition to managing a continuous flow of Army Reserve client units through overlapping 21-day pre-mobilization training cycles, RTC-Central again will support the Army Reserve’s Best Warrior Competition this summer at Fort McCoy. The competition chooses the best Army Reserve Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) and Soldier to compete against their National Guard and active-duty counterparts for the Armywide NCO and Soldier of the Year titles.

Lt. Col. (promotable) James P. Erdie, RTC-Central commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry E. Welch, RTC-Central command sergeant major, assumed their new positions in February. Both are serving on mobilization orders.

Each brings talents and experience to RTC-Central’s third year of conducting pre-mobilization training. The command team is fortunate to lead an experienced staff of senior NCOs and officers, many of whom have recent theater experience or are Army drill sergeants, Erdie said.

Erdie’s assumption of RTC-Central command is a natural progression of his past few years serving the 108th Division.

PHOTO: Command Sgt. Maj. Larry E. Welch, RTC-Central command sergeant major.

He most recently served as the operations officer (G-3) for Task Force 802 responsible for managing all three RTCs. He was mobilized in 2008 to assist standing-up RTC-East (Fort Dix, N.J.) as the brigade operations officer (S-3).

Erdie was mobilized during Desert Storm, and in April 2006 was deployed to Iraq, where he served as a military transition team officer in charge of advising an Iraqi colonel at an Iraqi training base in Al Kut. In civilian life, he is an operations manager for the United Parcel Service.

During his 37-year military career, Welch, who began his service in the Marine Corps, has held many leadership positions within the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve.

These include being first sergeant (chief instructor) for the 108th Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C., and most recently, as the seventh commandant of the U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant School (108th Division).

Welch has been a police officer for 30 years. When not deployed with the Army Reserve, he is a captain on the Concord, N.C., police department, where he serves as a patrol district commander. He also has the additional duty of commander of the SWAT team and honor guard.

(Submitted by the Regional Training Center-Central Public Affairs Office.)

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