FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - The Missouri National Guard welcomed a new officer and company commander, while another Missouri Guardsman will get the chance to serve where he lives after a recent change of command ceremony.
Missouri Guard newcomer, Capt. Scott Chandler, has replaced Capt. Ronnie Rice, who lives in St. Joseph, as commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, of Fort Leonard Wood.
Col. John Findley, deputy commander of the brigade, said Chandler was chosen because he was a good fit for the unit.
"I haven't set down with him yet for his initial counseling, but I'll just tell him to take care of his Soldiers and they'll take care of him," said Findley, who lives in Eldon.
Chandler comes to the Missouri Guard for his first company command after working as a contracting office representative and program manager for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va. He has 13 years of Guard service - five in Colorado, four in Utah, and four in Arizona.
"This is a good opportunity," said Chandler, who was commissioned as an engineer officer while serving in Colorado in 2005. "One of the reasons I joined the Guard was to make a difference. I wanted to be patriotic and once I got in, I saw it as a chance to help out others. I hope this new position will help give me the opportunity to serve those who are in the company. I hope to help them fulfill the mission of our brigade commander."
A focus will be placed by Chandler on maintaining and increasing unit and individual Soldier readiness.
"I want to make sure the mission gets accomplished and people get trained," said Chandler, who now lives in Holts Summit.
A 1993 graduate of American Fork High School, in American Fork, Utah, Chandler earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in technology teacher education from Brigham Young University, of Provo, Utah, in 2002. He added a Masters of education from University of Phoenix in 2009.
Chandler is supported in his military career by his wife, Heather, and their daughter, Alicia, 7, his mother, Jennett Chandler, who lives in Lindon, Utah, his five sisters and three brothers, and his deceased father, David Chandler.
"I owe a lot of who I am to him," Chandler said of his father.
Rice will now return to St. Joseph where he'll serve as an operations officer for Detachment 1, Company A, 35th Infantry Division.
Findley said Rice will be missed.
"He's very aggressive and a true go-getter," Findley said. "His energy will be missed. He'll do well in his new assignment."
Rice, who has served as commander since Oct. 2011, said he gained a lot of experience from his first company command.
"It's the end of an era in my career," Rice said. "It was a unique experience being the commander of a company at the brigade headquarters level. It was a challenge and a unique opportunity."
Page 2 of 2 - Those challenges included the dual role of supporting both the company and the brigade.
"That could be challenging at times," said Rice, who has spent nine years in the Missouri Guard, nine in the Kansas Guard, two years in the Illinois Guard and two years in the active Army.
A 1989 graduate of Benton High School in St. Joseph, Rice earned a 1998 Bachelor's of Science in accounting from Missouri State Western University, in St. Joseph.
In his military career, Rice is supported by his wife, Michele, and their children, Derek, Trent, Brett, Shawn and Kaela.
Rice offered brief advice for Chandler.
"He should remain steadfast and uphold the standards," Rice said.