Infantry Battalion Gets New Commander
50th Brigade Commander, Col Steve Hines passes the Battalion flag
to LTC Joseph O'Connor, Commander, 2nd Battalion 113th Inf symbolizing
the formal assumption of Command.
On December 14, 2002 at 10:00 am, LTC
(Lieutenant Colonel) Joseph M. O’Connor of Howell, New Jersey
assumed command of the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized) 113th Infantry, New
Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG). The traditional military ceremony
took place at the National Guard Armory, located at 107 Newark- Pompton
Turnpike, just east of Rt 23 in Riverdale.
Lieutenant Colonel O’Connor was
commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (Infantry) upon completion of Reserve
Officers Training from St Peters College, Jersey City, New Jersey in
1979. Following his commission, he entered the regular army where he
served in various command and staff positions as an infantry officer.
In 1983 he joined the New Jersey Army National Guard as the assistant
S-4 (Supply Officer) with the First Brigade, 50th Armored Division.
Additional assignments included Commander, Headquarters/Headquarters
Company (HHC) 1st Brigade 50th Armored Division; Infantry Liaison Officer
to 1st Brigade staff; Assistant S-3 (Training Officer) 1st Brigade;
S-4 2nd Battalion (M) –113th IN; Director of the Battle Staff
Training Branch, T3BL; and State Food Service Officer, NJARNG Headquarters,
State Area Command.
Brigadier General Ken Wondrack, Assistant Division Commander, 42nd
Infantry Division addresses the troops, guests, and other attendees
during the ceremony.
O’Connor has received numerous
military awards and decorations to include: the Expert Infantry Badge,
Parachutist Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal,
and the Army Achievement medal. His is a Graduate of the United States
Army Infantry course, the Tactical Certification Instructors Course,
and is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff officer course.
In civilian life, Lieutenant Colonel O’Connor is a police officer
with the Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey.
He is married to the former Carmel Sharkey. They have 2 sons, Thomas
21, and Brian age 15.
Color Guards from each of the Battalions 6 Companies participated
in the colorful military ceremony.
The 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry is
one of two Infantry Battalions in the New Jersey Army National Guard
and is part of the 50th Armored Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division. With
its Headquarters and Headquarters located in Riverdale, the 2-113th
also has units stationed in Jersey City (Company D), Woodbridge (Company
C), and Newark (Companies A, B, & E).
The entire Battalion and is scheduled
to deploy to Bosnia in 2004 to participate in SFOR-16 (Stabilization
Force-16). The Battalion previously was activated following the terror
attacks against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon on September
11th, 2001 to provide additional security at the Hudson River bridges
and tunnels, area airports, and at the state’s two nuclear facilities.
Troops from the 2-113th again were placed on alert to protect key infrastructure
within the state in the days surrounding the first anniversary of the
Battalion Command Sergeant Major Jerome Jenkins, the senior enlisted
person, presents outgoing Battalion Commander, LTC Ken Rausa with a
plaque representing the unit's collective appreciation and gratitude
for Rausa's more than 2 years of outstanding leadership and dedicated
service to the 2-113th.
Personnel from HHC, 2-113th participate
in a significant number of public activities and events throughout the
surrounding area providing color guards, military equipment, and personnel
for various parades, ceremonies, and veterans’ functions. The
Riverdale Armory serves as an emergency operations center during flooding
of the nearby Pompton River and in times of snow storms, hurricanes,
and other natural disasters. In better times, the Armory serves as a
meeting place and center for community activities ranging from scouting
to dog shows and is available for commercial rental.