Fort McCoy News May 13, 2016

1st, 291st BSB reactivates under 181st

BY CAPT. J. AYDEN THOMAS
181st Infantry Brigade

The 1st Battalion, 291st Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) stood up operations at Fort McCoy April 15 with Lt. Col. Robert Kellam assuming command and taking the reins as unit commander during a ceremony in building 905.

The 1st, 291st BSB also was reactivated during the ceremony and is aligned under the 181st Infantry Brigade. The unit has 33 observer-coach/trainers who support and partner with active- and reserve-component forces in the Army's Sustained Readiness Cycle.

Col. John Cook (right), 181st Infantry Brigade commander, passes the unit flag for the 1st Battalion, 291st Brigade Support Battalion to the new unit commander, Lt. Col. Robert Kellam, during an assumption-of-command-and-activation ceremony April 15 in building 905 at Fort McCoy.
Col. John Cook (right), 181st Infantry Brigade
commander, passes the unit flag for the 1st
Battalion, 291st Brigade Support Battalion to the
new unit commander, Lt. Col. Robert Kellam, during
an assumption-of-command-and-activation
ceremony April 15 in building 905 at Fort McCoy.

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Parsons

The unit's mission at Fort McCoy is part of Bold Shift, a First Army initiative that reorganizes and consolidates mission requirements within the First Army as it focuses on pre-mobilization training for reserve-component forces.

When the Bold Shift transition is complete in 2016, approximately 150 additional active-duty Soldiers will have relocated to Fort McCoy.

181st Infantry Brigade Commander Col. John Cook passed the flag of leadership to Kellum during the ceremony. He said the ceremony marked a "great day" for the 181st at Fort McCoy.

After the ceremony, Kellam said, "It's a great honor and privilege to command an organization at any level, but reactivating a unit under a new command with a totally different mission than what it previously had is a totally different and exciting challenge.

"I have nothing but positive things to say about the Soldiers in this unit and the support that we have received here at Fort McCoy," he said. 

The 1st, 291st BSB is the second of three active-duty BSBs to activate within 181st and will provide value through teamwork and a willingness to accomplish any mission, Kellam said. 

"The 'Shadow BN' (battalion) (our call sign) is focused on this summer's exercise cycle and ensuring the units that come here are trained and coached to the standards that the 181st has achieved in the past," Kellam said. 

"As we grow in numbers and experience, there is no doubt in my mind that the 1st, 291st Brigade Support Battalion will continue the great tradition of partnership, coaching, and training our reserve-component units to execute the myriad of missions they are faced with."

The 1st, 351st BSB also was reactivated under the 181st in November 2015.

For more information about the 181st Infantry Brigade and the 1st, 291st BSB, call 608-388-6304.