Rock Hill-based National Guard unit gets new commander

02/17/2014 11:29 PM

02/17/2014 11:31 PM

Maj. Kevin Berry will be formally installed as the new commanding officer of the S.C. Army National Guard 178th Combat Engineer Battalion Saturday at a ceremony at Historic Brattonsville.

The battalion is headquartered at the Rock Hill armory and has soldiers under its command at armories in Fort Mill, Chester, Lancaster and Wellford.

Berry, 41, takes over command of the 178th from Lt. Col. Corol Dobson, who was commander of Task Force Prowler during the unit’s year-long deployment to Afghanistan that ended in May. Dobson has been promoted to another assignment with the National Guard in the Lowcountry.

Berry, a civil engineer from Mount Pleasant, was executive officer in the command staff for the unit on the 178th’s last Afghanistan deployment. In that deployment, 161 soldiers from the Rock Hill armory handled convoy security, construction, and bomb demolition missions.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, the battalion has deployed hundreds of soldiers to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and for homeland security missions stateside.

The unit has been hailed by Army officials for its work during deployments and dozens of 178th soldiers have received commendations during deployments, including several Bronze Stars – the military’s fourth-highest individual award for acts of heroism, merit or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Berry, whose promotion to lieutenant colonel is forthcoming, has earned more than 20 medals, ribbons and badges for his homeland security and overseas service – including a Bronze Star.

Although no area unit is currently deployed, several 178th soldiers are now serving in Afghanistan with the 1223rd Engineer Company.

Berry was deployed with area soldiers in a 2007-08 Afghan tour as part of the 218th Brigade, then again with the 178th in 2012-13. He is a Citadel graduate with two previous tours in Afghanistan.

The 2 p.m. Saturday event will be outside Hightower Hall in McConnells.

The Historic Brattonsville site was chosen because of its historical importance. The Battle of Huck’s Defeat, a catalyst for future patriot victories over British troops, was waged on the western York County site in 1780.

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