By Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge
Utah Army National Guard
It was a morning of transitions as the Utah Army National Guard held a ceremony for the incoming and outgoing commanders of the Land Component Command on Tarbet Field at Camp Williams, Utah, May 1, 2021.
The Land Component Command is the headquarters for deployable Utah Army National Guard units and is responsible for overseeing the training and readiness of six major subordinate commands, comprised of approximately 4,400 Soldiers. The commander of the Land Component Command is accountable to the adjutant general to ensure these commands and their subordinate units are prepared to respond to any domestic or foreign contingency.
The morning began with a promotion ceremony as Col. Charlene Dalto was promoted to brigadier general in preparation to take her new command. Her two daughters and son helped pin on her star as she transitioned from field-grade officer to general officer. Dalto’s son, Utah Army National Guard Spc. Blake Dalto, rendered his mother her first salute as a general officer.
Before her promotion, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox spoke about her career and accomplishments.
“Today is a historical day as we promote Col. Dalto to brigadier general in the Utah Army National Guard; the first female to be promoted to this position. There aren’t many firsts left in this world, and congratulations Colonel on this one,” said Cox.
Cox then spoke about her previous positions and lengthy 38-year career. Dalto, a registered nurse in her civilian career, spent her first 20 years in the Army as an enlisted Soldier, earning her way up to master sergeant before accepting a direct commission as an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Dalto has commanded the Utah Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment since 2018. In her most recent position, she has been instrumental in the Utah National Guard’s response to COVID-19 and the state of Utah’s vaccination efforts.
“The state of Utah needed your help Col. Dalto, and [you] answered the call,” said Cox.
Following the promotion ceremony, Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, the adjutant general, Utah National Guard, presided over the the passing of the organizational colors from the current Land Component Command, Commander, Brig. Gen. Thomas Fisher, to the new commander, signifying the transition of authority to Dalto.
In his remarks, Turley thanked Fisher for his service and leadership.
“Thank you for what you have done. You and your family have been so important to this organization,” said Turley. “Your service to this nation, this state, this command and to the Utah National Guard are without parallel.”
To the incoming commander, Dalto, the adjutant general gave his guidance for a successful command.
“Seek readiness in all things. There is no other important factor other than the readiness of our units and the survival of the mission. Develop your partnerships. Please look to help those partners be successful,” Turley continued. “Remember we are here to do the mission of the citizens of the state and citizens of the nation and that will require you to push people to their limits.”
During his comments, Fisher recounted the objectives of his team during his command. He wanted units and Soldiers to know that they are important and that what they did was important. He also wanted the highest readiness for units and individuals for the war-fight and domestic missions. To accomplish these objectives, Fisher recounted how his team visited every training event of the major subordinate commands and interacted with units to ensure training objectives were met. He explained how Land Component Command units deployed to several countries and supported the state in multiple roles through the pandemic.
“Thorough all of that, I’m going to be bold enough to say that we accomplished the mission, however, there is still a lot of work to be done; and General Dalto, it’s your turn,” said Fisher, figuratively passing the reins of Land Component Command mission to Dalto.
Dalto thanked her mentors, role models, and leaders that provided her the opportunities and challenges that led to her new position and pledged to continue the hard work in her new command.
“It is such a privilege to take command of these distinguished units. I am humbled, but also reassured that the groundwork that was laid by Brig. Gen. Fisher will ensure my success,” said Dalto. “I commit to continuing that hard work and ensuring that our Soldiers are trained and ready.”
Following the change of command, Fisher gathered with family, friends and fellow Guard members for his retirement ceremony, as he transitioned out of his distinguished 31-year military career
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