HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –
Col. James Welch relinquished his duties as commander of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade to Col. Sherdrick Rankin, during a ceremony July 20 at the Davidson Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center here.
“I thank God for blessing me with this incredible opportunity and seeing me through during this time in command,” Welch said. “Throughout these years I have been constantly amazed at the tremendous work ethic and dedication of the men and women in this command.”
A change of command is a military tradition that represents the transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit or a command. Brig. Gen. John Cushing, the Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army Recruiting Command, presided over the ceremony.
“This brigade produces the highest percentage of our mission each year,” Cushing said. ”That’s because of the leadership and all the people involved who have truly embodied the idea of “winning matters”.”
During opening remarks, Cushing credited Welch on his outstanding leadership and effort to the recruiting mission.
“Col. Welch was no stranger to 2nd Brigade. He knew the challenges that we were walking into, and he didn’t back down,” Cushing said. “When we needed someone to take on a tough mission, we called on James Welch. He has done all this while taking care of his soldiers, civilians, and his family and did a great job in balancing it all.”
Welch, the commander since July 2021, will become the G-2 director of intelligence at the Army Materiel Command. During the ceremony he shared his appreciation for his family, Soldiers, civilians, brigade staff, and community partners and encouraged the importance of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade’s critical mission to win the fight in sustaining an All-Volunteer force.
“I was proud to adopt the motto winning matters when I assumed command,” Welch said. “Winning matters in the field of battle and it matters in the recruiting fight. If we don’t win on the recruiting battlefield, we won’t have an Army. But as much as I want you to win in this profession, I want you to win in life. I am extremely thankful to have served as the brigade commander. This was really my dream job and the honor of a lifetime.”
Col. Rankin will serve as the commander of 8 battalions, 46 companies, and 269 stations, which covers a territory of population that contains the highest propensity of service spanning over the Southeast, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. His goal is to build upon the great achievements that the brigade has accomplished and to lead the unit in inspiring young men and women to join the Army.
“Leadership and service is both an honor and a privilege and I am privileged to serve over the past 28 years for our great nation,” Rankin said. “It is truly a blessing to join the best brigade in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. There is no greater honor and no greater responsibility to command America’s finest.”
Rankin joins the USAREC team after serving as the logistics human resource manager in the Colonels Management Office at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1994 from his hometown in Evergreen, Alabama. Rankin deployed to Iraq in 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2006, 2012 and 2013. His overseas assignments included being stationed in Korea and Germany and he had two tours to Bosnia. He credits the encouragement and support from his family, friends, and mentors for helping him transform into the leader he is today.
“He has the qualifications, the background, and the drive to uphold our mission,” Cushing said. ““His experience is what makes him perfect for the job."