Vienna woman assumes command of 5th Ordnance Training Battalion
By: Matthew J. Wilson/Missouri National Guard Public Affairs
Missouri National Guard Lt. Col. Regina Kilmer hands off the 5th Ordnance Training Battalion guidon to Command Sgt. Maj. Tommy Brown of the 140th Regional Training Institute while her husband, Ken, and mother, Ruby Koepke, look on.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Oct. 7, 2009) — Lt. Col. Regina Kilmer, a Vienna resident, returned to her roots in the 140th Regiment Missouri Regional Training Institute when she assumed the role as commander of the Missouri National Guard’s 5th Ordnance Training Battalion.
Kilmer was presented the unit’s flag by Lt. Col. North Charles, regiment commander, to symbolize her authority over the Battalion.
“Lt. Col. Kilmer is the most qualified candidate to command the 5th Ordnance Training Battalion,” Charles said. “She commanded a company in that organization. She’s just returned from Kosovo, where she had a very successful mobilization.”
Supporting Kilmer at the ceremony and in her military career were her husband, Ken, and mother, Ruby Koepke. But it was a family member who wasn’t there — her father — to whom she dedicated the assumption of command ceremony. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Koepke died while his daughter was going through premobilization training for Kosovo in Camp Atterbury, in Columbus, Ind.
Kilmer called her father her inspiration for joining the military.
“I found myself curious about the military at age 24,” she said. “I said, ‘Hey, dad’s done this his whole life. I don’t want to wait until I’m too old to do it, so let me give this grand experiment a try.’ Then I found that I have green in my blood. He accomplished the mission and he took care of troops. That’s what I try to do.”
Lt. Col. Ronnie Mast relinquished command of the 5th Ordnance Training Battalion in August as part of his transition into his new role as commander of the Missouri National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team III.
As commander of the 5th, Kilmer will oversee four Regional Training Site Maintenance Companies — one each in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota — in her new position.
“This is a really exciting day,” said Kilmer. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for quite a while.”
“Having commanded the Regional Training Site Maintenance Company a few years ago as a new major, it’s just a well-oiled machine and a wonderful group of professionals. Now to have that opportunity with four Regional Training Site Maintenance companies in four different states is just great.”
Kilmer had been the regiment’s executive and administrative officer before she deployed to Kosovo in 2008.
“This is like coming home,” Kilmer said. “This is a great institution. Training soldiers is a wonderful thing and being able to be a part of the quality control and motivating folks to do their best in training our Soldiers is a real privilege.”
After her return from Kosovo, Kilmer, who has been in the Army for more than 25 years with 21 in the Missouri National Guard, was a management specialist for the joint staff logistics directorate in Jefferson City.
Kilmer said her first order of business in her new position will be to prepare the battalion for an accreditation visit from the proponent school in March.
“Obviously, we want to do very well in that,” she said. “But overall, I just want to accomplish the mission, take care of the Soldiers and see where I can advocate on their behalf to fight and win battles for them.”
In her military career, Kilmer’s awards and honors include two Meritorious Service Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal and four Army Achievement Medals.
Kilmer has also had a deployment to Honduras when she was on active duty.
After graduating from St. Mary’s High School, in Colorado Springs, Kilmer earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Excelsior College, in Albany, N.Y., and a master’s degree in international security and civil-military relations from the Naval Postgraduate School. Kilmer also is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Air War College.
During the week, Kilmer works for the Guard’s joint staff personnel directorate in Jefferson City.