Story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Calkins, 218th MEB Public Affairs
EASTOVER, S.C. – The 1-118th Combined Arms Battalion held a change of command ceremony for outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Robert G. Carruthers, to incoming commander, Lt. Col. Robin B. Stilwell, at McCrady Training Center May 4, 2014.
“While the outward appearance of the ceremony centers on change of commanders, what it truly displays is the great professionalism of the Army National Guard through a seamless continuity of a discipline combat unit,” said Carruthers. “Not because of its former or future commanders but because of the great combat experienced Soldiers that stand before you.”
Prior to his career with the Army National Guard, Carruthers was an active duty armor officer for 11 years, serving at Fort Stewart, Georgia; The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina; and Fort Hood, Texas.
After leaving active duty in 2001, Carruthers joined the Texas Army National Guard before transferring to the South Carolina National Guard in 2003. He assumed command of the 1-118 CAB in November 2010, having served as the Executive Officer for the battalion in 2009. Prior to assignments with 1-118 CAB, Carruthers was the Operations Officer for the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) following a deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 through 2008.
“These Soldiers have performed nonstop and magnificently for the past three and a half years in defense of our nation,” said Carruthers, speaking of the variety of areas the battalion has deployed recently.
Carruthers deployed with the 218th MEB to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian in 2012 through 2013 as the commander of the Forward Command Post, Multinational Battle Group East. He was in charge of approximately 700 troops, consisting of about 70 percent international.
“These Soldiers willingly sacrificed part of their lives to give back to our nation that has given so much to them,” said Carruthers. “They willingly chose hardship over comfort to be part of an endeavor that was greater than us all and to make a difference in the world.”
In closing, Carruthers stated, “The success of this battalion in every mission is a result of their dedication, their professionalism and their discipline.” Carruthers went on to thank the command team for the opportunity to command the 1-118th but thanked the Soldiers for their success stating, “all the credit is theirs.”
The incoming commander, Lt. Col. Robin B. Stilwell began his military career during Reserve Officer Training Corps at The Citadel in 1985. Following graduation, Stilwell commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard.
Stilwell was subsequently assigned as a platoon leader in Echo Company, 1-118 CAB and commander of Charlie Company, 4-118th Infantry Battalion.
“The 1-118th has a legacy of great accomplishments and of great leadership. We walk in the footsteps of remarkable officers and NCOs, most recent of which is my good friend Bob Carruthers,” said Stilwell. “We must fight, strive and work to uphold the tradition of exceptionalism in the 1-118th.”
In 2007 through 2008, Stilwell deployed with the 218th MEB to Afghanistan in support of Operation Noble Eagle and to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian in 2012 through 2013 as the Chief of Staff for Multinational Battle Group – East.
During his ceremonial remarks, Stilwell reminded Soldiers of the historical significance of the 1-118th.
“We must rededicate ourselves each day to maintain the standard set by those great Soldiers who have worked and fought since the days of the Revolution to establish our (battalion) colors,” said Stilwell. “Only then will we be worthy of standing as our forefathers have, trained, ready and honored to defend this great nation of ours.”
“Now Soldiers of the 1-118th Combined Arms Battalion, let’s get to work,” said Stilwell.