’SaberCats’ Get New Commander
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment Changes Command
SAN MARCOS, Texas - A new commander of the Texas State Guard’s 1st Battalion, 2nd Civil Affairs Regiment took charge today in a Change of Command ceremony held at the armory in San Marcos.
The battalion includes more than 50 TXSG soldiers working in and around Hays County, though some - like new commander Maj. Alfred Sustaita Jr. - travel across the state to drill with what is known as the “SaberCats” battalion.
The outgoing commander is Capt. Robert Purcell. He has spent more than 36 years serving the state and nation. He first entered the United States Army in 1968 and retired in 1988, assigned to duties in the infantry, logistics and military intelligence. He and his family settled in San Marcos in 1992. He was soon invited to join the TXSG and assumed command of what was then known as Company A, 4th Battalion, 1st Regiment.
“The men and women with whom I’ve served in the Texas State Guard have been remarkable soldiers,” said Purcell. “Every single one has demonstrated time and again a passion for serving their fellow Texans.”
Purcell has held numerous positions in the TXSG, and was involved in the realignment of units following deployment for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Along with his many awards from his time on active duty with the US Army, he has also been awarded the Senior Military Emergency Management Specialist badge, the Texas Outstanding Service medal and three Texas Medals of Merit for his service in the Texas State Guard.
Maj. Sustaita enlisted in the TXSG in 1989, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. In December 1993, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University, graduating in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Science.
Among Maj. Sustaita’s awards and decorations is the Texas Medal for Merit, the Adjutant General’s Individual Award, the Commanding General’s Individual Award, the Humanitarian Service Award, the Texas Faithful Service Medal, the Texas State Guard Service Medal, the TXSG General’s Staff badge, and the Basic Military Emergency Management Specialist badge.
Out of uniform, he serves as Program Director and Professor of Occupational Health and Safety Technology at San Jacinto College. Sustaita lives in Alvin with his wife and son.
The change of command ceremony is an important part of military tradition that symbolizes the change of the Commanding Officer of a military unit in a formal ceremony that can be traced back to Roman times. This ceremony emphasizes the continuity of leadership and unit identity despite changes in individual authority. This transfer of authority is physically represented by the passing of the Unit Colors, the tangible symbol of the unit, from the outgoing commander to the new commander.
Sustaita said he is honored to carry on the tradition of excellence started by Purcell.
“The success we have in the future working on behalf of Texans will be connected directly to the hard work and dedication of Capt. Purcell,” said Sustaita. “My job as battalion commander will be to ensure they remain prepared to successfully fulfill the missions we’re presented.”