Fort McCoy News July 10, 2015

New commander assumes leadership of 181st

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Col. John Cook is the new commander of the 181st Infantry Brigade.

Photo 1
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Colt (left),
Division West commanding general
at Fort Hood, Texas, passes the
flag of the 181st Infantry Brigade
to Col. John Cook, new 181st
commander, during a change-of-
command ceremony June 30 at
Fort McCoy.
Photos by Anita Johnson

During a change-of-command ceremony June 30 at Fort McCoy's Parade Field 1, Cook assumed command from Col. Shawn Klawunder, who moves on to serve as the principal adviser to the Afghanistan chief of staff in Kabul.

Cook comes to Fort McCoy after serving as the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) capability manager for mission command/command posts in the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Colt, Division West commanding general at Fort Hood, Texas, was the presiding officer for the ceremony. Colt praised Klawunder for his leadership.

"Over the past 24 months, Col. Klawunder, while leading the 181st, has enabled and enhanced the training of thousands — literally thousands — of Soldiers in Reserve, National Guard, and active components," Colt said.

"It is said that leaders take you places that you might not otherwise go," Colt said. "They inspire us more than we might expect of ourselves. Under Shawn's adaptive and transformational leadership, the 181st Infantry Brigade has displayed tremendous agility."
Colt equally praised Cook and wished him well as the new 181st commander.

"I believe John's agility and experience as a commander and his recent experience as the TRADOC capabilities manager … will serve the 181st, Division West, and all of our partners in active (duty), Guard, and Reserve extraordinarily well," Colt said. "John, I'm looking forward to seeing you take the 181st to the next level."

Cook is a native of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and was commissioned in the Army from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1991. After completing the Armor Officer Basic Course, Cook served at Fort Stewart, Ga., until 1995.

Since that first assignment, the colonel also has served at Army installations in Korea, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, and now Wisconsin. He also has deployed to several overseas contingency operations in Egypt, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Photo 2
Col. John Cook speaks to attendees during the change-of-command ceremony at Fort McCoy.

Cook said he is pleased to serve at Fort McCoy and already appreciates how the installation community has welcomed him and his Family.

"My family and I have been sponsored into the 181, Fort McCoy, the local communities for the past 16 months," he said. "I can honestly say this is the best support, by far, in any PCS (permanent change of station) or job transition (for us) in 24 years."

Cook said he looks forward to leading the brigade. Addressing the 181st Soldiers who were in formation on the parade field, he said, "Sergeant major and the Soldiers of the brigade — you look great. … Jamie and I look forward to joining you and building on the foundation you and the Klawunders have made over the last few years."

The 181st trains forces for combatant commanders in support of continuing contingency operations and provides training, readiness, oversight, and mobilization assistance for reserve-component units. The brigade has been at Fort McCoy since 2006.

For more information about the 181st, call 608-388-3629.