By Michael Molinaro
FORT BENNING, Ga. — Soldiers, civilians, friends and family members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) welcomed a new commander on Tuesday to the ‘Home of Champions.’
Lt. Col. Bret Tecklenburg assumed command from Lt. Col. Don King Jr. at the unit’s Ceremony Hill located adjacent to Pool Range Complex. King, who commanded the unit for two years, is headed to the John. F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School as the executive officer to the commanding general.
“The AMU is the home of champions,” said Tecklenburg. “I am honored to serve in this organization with these phenomenal men and women. I am humbled to be a small part of the legacy this unit has established.
Tecklenburg becomes the 21st commander of the USAMU after his tenure as the branch chief, division chief and operations planner at the Joint Special Operations Command.
He enlisted into the Army as a UH-1 helicopter crew chief and mechanic. He was commissioned in 1996 and served in a multitude of leadership positions throughout his military career. He deployed numerous times in support of overseas contingency operations, including multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, serving in both infantry and special operations assignments.
To serve as the leader of the AMU is an exclusive opportunity for any officer who assumes battalion command for the first time, said Col. Brian Cavanaugh, commander of the Army Accessions Support Brigade and reviewing officer.
“The (AMU) is unique in both the value that it provides to the Army and in its organization and structure,” said Cavanaugh. “When you have the professional excellence of the people in the AMU you can achieve so much more than a counterpart with a large staff.”
King led the unit through both exciting and challenging times. Under his leadership the unit sent seven Soldiers to the London Olympics in 2012 and also saw the creation of the unit’s Paralympic team. He also guided the unit through fiscal constraints in 2013, finding innovative ways to train and maintain the right balance of capabilities to sustain the unit’s unique mission. Under his leadership, the unit raised marksmanship proficiency Army-wide and upheld its tradition in competition, including winning every Interservice individual and team championship, said Command Sgt. Maj. William Koller.
“It’s really tough to leave this place because of the professionalism displayed every day by the Soldiers and civilians here,” King said. “They touch all aspects of the Army and are truly the best in the entire Department of Defense at what they do. It’s tough to walk away from that, but I’ll always remember the extraordinary people who make up this battalion and know our Army is better off because of this unit.”
USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Support Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Army’s recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Army’s overall combat readiness.