Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Mid America held a virtual change of command ceremony at its headquarters in St. Louis, Feb. 19, 2021.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Benjamin Fischer relieved Cmdr. Bradley Whittington as NTAG Mid America’s commanding officer.
Capt. Robert “Butch” Smith, commodore of Navy Recruiting Region Central, served as the presiding officer and gave words of thanks to the outgoing commanding officer and his command.
“Whittington has shown outstanding leadership, hard work and dedication to the recruiting mission,” said Smith. “While under Whittington’s vision and leadership, NTAG Mid America has become one of the best NTAGs in the nation.”
Smith also spoke highly of the oncoming commanding officer as well.
“I want to welcome Fischer to the chase,” said Smith. “I’m glad he is on my team and I can’t wait to see what he does by building off what Whittington has already accomplished.”
During Whittington’s tenure at NTAG Mid America, the command successfully contracted 2,102 active-duty and reserve personnel, of which 182 were in the nuclear field, 131 were warrior challenge candidates and 139 were reserve officers. While under Whittington’s leadership, NTAG Mid America achieved a Navy ROTC (NROTC) goal of 125% and awarded 11 immediate selection NROTC scholarships to some of the brightest men and women in the country.
With such impressive numbers in mind, Whittington said it wasn’t because of him. It was because of his team.
“NTAG Mid America is full of true leaders who are dedicated to being a team,” said Whittington. “Getting to lead this team has been fulfilling in ways I could never imagine.”
Immediately following the ceremony, Whittington retired after 20 years of naval service, and he thanked the command for all their hard work and support during his final tour of duty.
“This has been the absolute pinnacle of my Navy career,” said Whittington. “I have seen this command soar in the time I have been here, and I know it’s because they have been the team they all wanted to be. Through some of the most challenging of circumstances, they were the ones who went and did the impossible. I want to thank them for letting me be part of that team. I will forever be in their debt and they will forever be in my heart.”
Toward the end of his remarks, Whittington said that the command was in great hands moving forward with Fischer.
“I know this team will continue to excel,” said Whittington. “That’s because I know Fischer will take great care of this team. I know he’ll lead well.”
Fischer, who served as the executive officer of NTAG Mid America, said the command will continue to build on the strong sense of teamwork and leadership instilled under the guidance of Whittington, and that he will continue to put the best and brightest people into the world’s most powerful Navy.
Succinctly, Fischer said: “We are going to change many lives.”
Fischer also said he is beyond ready to lead the command into the future.
“I am ready to lead such an amazing team of dedicated Sailors,” said Fischer. “Being NTAG Mid America’s commanding officer is easily the single greatest professional honor of my career.”
NTAG Mid America, part of Navy Recruiting Command, recruits the next generation of Navy Sailors throughout areas encompassing Missouri, Kansas, central and southern Illinois, and a portion of Kentucky.
MC1(SW/IW) Chris Williamson
NTAG Mid America Public Affairs Officer
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