Story by MAJ Ebony Gay on 08/04/2019FORT LEE, Va. - Soldiers, friends, and family gathered at Fort Lee's Master Sgt. Nicholas Oresko Total Army School System (TASS) Training Center for the 8/80th (Quartermaster) Battalion change of command ceremony on 1 June 2019. The ceremony bid farewell to Lt. Col. Alexia Fields, outgoing 8/80th battalion commander and welcomed Lt. Col. Dale Fater, the incoming 8/80th battalion commander.
Fields is a Troop Program Unit service member and a plans and operations specialist at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Fields, an United States Military Academy graduate, also known as West Point, shared her initial mindset from when she started her 2-year command tenure at the 8/80th Battalion. "I did not feel a sense of fear nor anxiousness," said Fields. "You always prepare for the job that you are about to fill because of the mentors and the Soldiers who have lead and prepared you for this moment."
"I am excited to have had the opportunity to take command, and it was a great honor to lead Soldiers while fulfilling the mission of growing and enhancing the development of instructors along with teaching Soldiers in their perspective Professional Military Education," said Fields.
For Fields, her strategy to achieving success while in command consists of guidance obtained by senior noncommissioned officers. "I was taught by senior NCOs that you have to know your craft, said Fields. "I was taught to be a master logistician by senior NCOs who took their craft seriously. I was taught that asking questions and doing research is vital to becoming a subject matter expert in my field. Finally, I was taught to lead from the front and be willing to do everything in my power to take care of my Soldiers."
Fields also expressed her gratitude to her 1st (QM) Brigade leadership for their unwavering support during her command. "Command Sgt. Maj. Betty and Col. Dreska, thank you for the opportunity to lead this battalion and your continued support", said Fields. "Sgt. Maj. Baily and Sgt. Maj. Hill, thank you for pushing me to continue on the path. Col. Joseph and Command Sgt. Maj. Clemens 1st Brigade family, thank you for letting me lead this unique mission, and I am proud of the forward momentum of what we were allowed to accomplish together."
Tasked with the mission of increasing Soldier readiness, Fields went on to state how humbled she is to have served with the Soldiers of the 8/80th Battalion. "We have taught missions from the beginning to the end of the fiscal year," said Fields. "We have been invested in various missions such as instructor certifications along with the accreditation and assessments of the Petroleum Supply Specialist, Petroleum Laboratory Specialist, and Water Treatment Specialist courses."
"The beginning and the end of this journey leads to the Soldiers. To all of you, I humbly thank you," said Fields."
Fields view her time with her Soldiers as the most rewarding part of her command that she'll miss dearly. "The Soldiers, the bonds made with them and aiding with the development of the mission is what I'll miss," said Fields. "The growth of my instructors and their capacity to teach and train Soldiers, expanding our mission, successful certifications, and being able to witness Soldiers have a prosperous life and military career progression in and outside of my command has been my greatest success and joy."
Having completed her command tenure with the 8/80th Battalion, Fields next military milestone will be the completion of the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where she's set to attend the fall 2019 course.
Col. John Joseph is a TPU service member who serves as the 1st (QM) Brigade commander and a 20-year chief financial services strategy officer, provided insight about his experience having worked with Fields and the role she played in the mission success of the 8/80th Battalion. "Over Alexia's command tenure, I find her to be one of the most steadfast, persistent, candid, caring and nurturing commanders that I've had the pleasure of serving with," said Joseph.
"During her command, she has managed to take the 8/80th and put the unit on an upward glide path to success that's demonstrated by watching the high-quality performance of her instructors to their students and her interaction with her Soldiers."
"Her technical and tactical, expertise, wit, and good nature has allowed her as a battalion commander to nurture a battalion and a next-level environment that benefited the Soldiers personally and professionally as well as the students that they instruct weekly for our military's Army Program of Individual Training and the Quartermaster Corps."
Joseph concluded by sharing his views about Fields work ethic. "She has met every challenge head-on while exceeding expectations and does so with a positive mindset," said Joseph. "There is not a challenge that she is not willing to confront, and there is no challenge that she cannot overcome. She knowns in her heart that the battalion command is about the caring and nurturing of the Soldiers, their lives, and their families."
"It's in her heart to be a battalion commander," said Joseph. "It's in her heart to fight for the Soldier's best interest. It's in her heart to fight for her students, and it's in her heart to do something that many lieutenant colonels never have the opportunity to do which is take command of a unit and feel like the footprint you've left behind has a lasting, impactful impression", said Joseph.
For Joseph, Fields has left a mark with the 8/80th Battalion and has learned from Fields that with a positive approach, intellect, and persistence, you can accomplish many things. "At the end of the day, you have to care about what you're doing," said Joseph. "She's a relationship builder, and that's what's going to continue to help her achieve success as she moves forward with the Army."