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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Monett native is 203rd Battalion commander

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lt. Col. Gregory Fritz, shown at center, was inducted as commander of the Missour National Guard's 203rd Engineer Battalion on Saturday. Fritz participated in his first ceremony as commander with Capt. Charles Ledgerwood, at center left, outgoing commander of the 203rd Headquarters Headquarters Company, and Lt. Brandon Montango, at right, the incoming commander of the Joplin unit, [National Guard photo by Ann Keyes]
Monett native Gregory Fritz, past commander of the local Company C with the 203rd Engineer Battalion, has been sworn in as the new commander for the entire 203rd Engineer Battalion. The change of command ceremony took place on Saturday at Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks.

"The change of command ceremonies are to ensure some degree of continuity and closure for all soldiers in the unit," said Major Michael Brown, administrative officer for the National Guard armory in Joplin. "This is a time to look back on the past few years at accomplishments and look forward to a new direction."

Fritz, now a lieutenant colonel, assumed the command of the 203rd from Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Adrian, who led the soldiers over the past year in their deployment to Afghanistan.

In the Afghanistan mission, the Missouri citizen soldiers in the National Guard battalion and associated companies conducted over 1,400 missions in Afghanistan, clearing more than 107,000 kilometers of routes. They located more than 426 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) out of more than 550 encountered, a find rate of 77 percent. The battalion also conducted over 150 combined action missions with Afghan National Security Forces and 115 counter-insurgency missions. In addition, the battalion earned 55 Purple Hearts, 11 Army Commendation Medals and 420 Combat Action Badges, among other awards.
"With a lot of soldiers just coming off deployment, it's going to be a tough time for all of us, rebuilding and getting back to doing business and getting ready for follow-up missions," said Fritz. "We're also here to do our job protecting the citizenry of Missouri, in addition to the nation. "Locally, for example, with natural disasters, we can help provide relief, like we did with the ice storms in southwest Missouri in 2007," said Fritz. "We have to be ready. We can not and will not let our guard down at home."

Fritz enlisted into the Army National Guard on June 6, 1987. He was commissioned as an engineer second lieutenant on June 16, 1990, by the Missouri Army National Guard Military Academy----Officer Candidate School. Since May 2010, Lt. Col. Fritz has been serving as the rear detachment commander for the 203rd Engineer Battalion.

Fritz's previous assignments include: deputy commander, headquarters 140th Regiment, Regional Training Institute; chief of the Missouri Army National Guard training site, detachment, Fort Leonard Wood; executive officer, 203rd Engineer Battalion; chief of operations and plans for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gulf region south (Iraq); S-3 operations, 203rd Engineer Battalion; plans officer for the 35th Engineer Brigade; Officer Candidate School company commander for the Second Battalion, 140th Regiment, Regional Training Institute; engineer staff officer, 35th Engineer Brigade; Company C commander for the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Monett from April, 1997, to April 2000; S-4 supply and logistics, 203rd Engineer Battalion; senior tactical officer for Detachment 4, headquarters State Area Command at the military academy; and platoon leader for Company D of the 1138th Engineer Battalion.

Fritz lives in Marshfield. He is married to Deborah Fritz, and they have two children, Danielle and Zachary.

Fritz is the son of Evert and the late Dorothy Fritz, and stepson of Julia Fritz. All three of his sisters, his father and stepmother attended Saturday's ceremony in Lake of the Ozarks.

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