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Brigadier General Patrick Michaelis takes command of Fort Jackson

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Friday, Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis became the 52nd Commanding General of the Army’s largest basic combat training installation located in Richland County.

He takes over for Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., who has been selected to serve as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in New York.

Michaelis is a Distinguished Military Graduate from Texas A&M and most recently was the Deputy Commanding General for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

The Change of Command Ceremony on base featured music, cannon fire and the formal exchange of power between Beagle and Michaelis.

The exchange of power ceremony.
The exchange of power ceremony.(WIS)

Both generals gave speeches thanking their families, the Fort Jackson community and those they’d served with.

Michaelis takes over the fort after a series of high-profile and negative incidents involving individuals connect with Fort Jackson.

In April, a viral video of a white Fort Jackson sergeant allegedly assaulting a black man went viral, ultimately resulting in his arrest, suspension from instructional duties at Fort Jackson, and protests.

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Later in April, a staff sergeant was arrested for allegedly raping a woman he met on a dating app.

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In May, a trainee armed with an empty rifle hijacked a Richland School District 2 school bus that had 18 children and a bus driver.

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In an interview with WIS on June 17, Beagle said his goal is to be honest with the public about the string of incidents.

“Why so suddenly? It’s very hard to answer, because they’re not connected, which is the first thing you look at,” he said. “It would be different if they were all connected in some type of way, but they’re vastly different when you look at all of them.”

“The thing that really matters to me the most and the community the most is our ability to be transparent whatever happens, good bad of indifferent.”

Michaelis said he was aware of the incidents, but Fort Jackson was still his number one choice for his next posting.

”Like everybody else I saw it in the national news, I saw it in the local news,” he said. “So there was not a sense of anxiety, there was a sense that the relationship between Fort Jackson and local community here is strong enough to weather those instances, and I will continue to maintain that relationship to weather through them.”

Michaelis did express excitement about bringing a “fresh perspective” and building off Beagle’s work.

“Fort Jackson is known across the Army and across the nation as a post of choice. It’s a place that people want to be. The mission is so important to our Army, that in my mind where else do I want to be? This is it.”

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