FORT CARSON, Colo. (5/19/12) – Colorado Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Robert Balster relinquished his position as COARNG Land Component Commander to COARNG Col. Joel Best, former commander of the 168th Regional Training Institute, at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, at 2 p.m. today.
“It’s an amazing thing coming into the Guard as an E-1 to be a [Bell UH-1 Iroquois] Huey crew chief, and having no idea of the opportunities that would be presented to me,” said Best. “Working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities out there, and do the honorable and noble thing, and live the Army values are some of the things I’ve always done.”
Best wants to uphold the standard of excellence currently held within the COARNG, and make the COARNG more relevant mission-wise during financial draw-downs.
“We succeed as an organization when leaders make sure their organizations are successful instead of trying to benefit by the position they’re in to aggrandize their own worth,” said Best. “By you being successful, by your organization being successful, they do a successful representation of the National Guard.”
Balster is moving on to his new position as what he referred to as, “being just a man,” and exploring his identity outside of the uniform. In other words, Balster will be ending his 43 year military career, and will retire this coming July.
“A change of command is all about hope,” said Balster. “You bring in new people, new ideas, and it keeps us from being stagnant. Changes of commands are the life-blood of the Army. A command is intense; you can’t do it with the same enthusiasm forever.”
Best is grateful for the mentorship Balster has provided him.
“Balster really is a brilliant man, and he is a visionary,” said Best. “He has done so many things for the Guard that most people don’t even realize to include the entire 3-phase program of the Centennial Training Complex was his idea. He’s a great guy and I’m going to miss him.”As Land Component Commander, Best will be responsible for the overall readiness, training, maintenance, and operational employment of the units assigned and attached to the COARNG.