Lt. Col. Denise Wilkinson addresses her Soldiers for the first time after taking command of Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion, 35th Infantry Division based in Lexington. A change of command ceremony was held April 14 in Leavenworth Kan. (Photo by Sgt. William Leavitt/ 35th Infantry Division Public Affairs)
By Jennifer Archdekin
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - The Missouri National Guard's 35th Infantry Division ushered in new leadership at a change of command ceremony on Saturday, April 14, at their division headquarters in Leavenworth, Kan.
Lt. Col. Denise Wilkinson, of Vienna, is the new commander for Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion, 35th Infantry Division based in Lexington. After serving two years with the battalion, Lt. Col. Amy Anderson, of Columbia, relinquished her command.
"I look forward to leading the charge to ensure Soldiers are individually ready to support the needs of our state and country," said Wilkinson. "When called, we are 'always ready, always there,' just as the National Guard motto states."
Wilkinson said the 35th ID is unique, as it is split across many state lines making it more challenging than the average unit. It is headquartered in Leavenworth, Kan. and has elements in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois.
"Each state does benefit as working relationships through training and staffing are built and maintained," said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson's battalion is based in Lexington and also maintains units in St. Joseph and Leavenworth. She will oversee about 400 Guardsmen with this new position.
"The Missouri National Guard leadership has the best interest of our Soldiers, Airmen and communities in mind, which is why we are so focused on individual Soldier, Airmen and Family readiness," said Wilkinson. "If our Soldiers and Airmen are always ready, they will always be there to support when called on by the governor or the president."
Wilkinson brings with her 24 years of experience in the Missouri National Guard. In 1988 she enlisted with the 35th Support Command and in 1995 received her first commission with the 835th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. In 2008 to 2009 she deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan as the deputy commander for the Agri-Business Development Team II.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as the battalion commander and look forward to meeting and working with all the Soldiers and their Families," said Wilkinson.
Currently Wilkinson works full-time as the deputy joint training officer at Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City. She is supported by her husband, Patrick, and five children; Bailey, Benjamin, Gabrielle, Duncan and Libbie.
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