Soldiers with the Indiana National Guard recently held a change of command ceremony for one of its largest and historic battalions at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh.
Indiana National Guard Lt. Col. Ben Tooley took command of 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment from Lt. Col. Nick Roukas, who had led the Columbus-based battalion since January 2021.
“I’m excited to continue the work of the 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, serving our communities, state and nation whenever and wherever needed,” Tooley said. “Hoosiers depend on us to protect them during natural and man-made disasters and at the same time be ready to respond to threats to our nation. I couldn’t be prouder to lead such a professional and selfless group of soldiers.”
The battalion, nicknamed the Spartan Battalion, supports company-level units throughout central and southern Indiana, including Headquarters Company in Columbus, Company A in Greenfield, Company B in Martinsville, Company C in Indianapolis, Company D in Washington, Company G of the 113th Brigade Support Battalion in Bedford and Company C, 2nd Battalion, 134 Infantry Regiment in Seymour.
The reviewing officer for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Dan Degelow, the 38th Infantry Division commanding general, and he praised the battalion leaders, both of whom call Columbus home.
“To those assigned to the battalion, I can confirm that you are in good hands,” Degelow said. “Lt. Col. Ben Tooley is a leader of impeccable quality and character. We are so glad you accepted the call to lead.”
Degelow in his speech also acknowledged Roukas for his dedication to mission as the Spartan Battalion commander.
“Lt. Col. Nick Roukas is a superb leader. He achieved so much with the training time available. It is a model for others to aspire to. You have made a notable impact on the battalion,” Degelow said.
During the ceremony, Degelow passed the battalion flag to Tooley, symbolizing the change in leadership from Roukas, who led the battalion for a little more than two years.
“I am incredibly honored to have been a part of the great Spartan Battalion from southern Indiana,” Roukas said. “These years have easily been some of the best in my military career. What they have in this small corner of the Army is both special and unique. They’ve challenged me, and I’m better for it. I can only hope to have made a similar impact. I’m incredibly sad to leave such an adaptive, cohesive and resilient warfighting organization.”
The soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment trace their lineage back 212 years ago, prior to Indiana statehood. As such, the unit’s soldiers have served in the Civil War, mustered for World War I, fought in the Pacific Theater of World War II and performed reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions in Vietnam.
More recently, the battalion’s soldiers have served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The battalion is an integral part of the 38th Infantry Division’s 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and its soldiers stand ready to answer the state’s and nation’s call.