FORT BENNING, Ga. –
Georgia Army National Guard Col. Kris Marshall became the seventh commander in the history of the Columbus-based 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during a ceremony held on the grounds of the near century old Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. Oct. 23, 2021. During the same ceremony, Command Sgt. Major Rodney Bettis assumed responsibility as the brigade’s eighth senior enlisted leader.
“Today, we get to add two outstanding leaders to your ranks: Colonel Kris Marshall and Command Sgt. Major Rodney Bettis,” said Brig. Gen. Dwayne Wilson, commander of the Georgia National Guard. “Both of these leaders have records of leading, training and caring for Soldiers.”
Marshall assumes brigade command following a successful command tenure at the head of the 122nd Tactical Support Division. He previously served as the Ga. ARNG’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence and was the last commander of the Statesboro-based 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, leading the unit through its reorganization as the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion. Marshall deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 and again in 2013. In 2021 he served as exercise co-director for Agile Spirit 21 in the Country of Georgia.
Upon assuming command, Marshall thanked his family, civilian employer and mentors, both civilian and military.
“I am humbled to be able to serve the men and women of the 648th,” said Marshall. “I look forward to moving this unit forward to support the citizens of Georgia when needed, continued engagement with the 3rd Infantry Division and when called to respond on the national and international stage.”
Bettis is an accomplished senior enlisted leader having served as command sergeant major of the 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment and 221st Military Intelligence Battalion. He originally enlisted in the Ga. ARNG as an aerial sensor specialist with the 158th Military Intelligence Battalion and later served as an infantryman with Company H, 121st Infantry. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2009.
During his remarks to the assembled Soldiers, Bettis invoked the symbolism of the compass rose on the 648th MEB shoulder sleeve insignia in expressing his leadership philosophy.
“I will be a 360-degree leader,” said Bettis. “I will lead to the south and the Soldiers under my care, I will lead to the north by influencing those with authority over me, I will lead to the east and west impacting my peers.”
The 648th MEB is one of 19 maneuver enhancement brigades in the total Army force structure. With an authorized strength of more than 1,600 Soldiers, the 648th MEB is structured to support combatant and joint task force commanders with specialized support units. It demonstrated this capability during a 2012 deployment to Kabul Afghanistan where the MEB provided mission command, security and support operations for the nearly 9,000 U.S. and coalition forces operating in the capital region. The 648th has additionally developed successful training and support relationships with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea as well as the Third Corps based in Fort Hood, Texas. The 648th has supported domestic operations such as hurricane response missions and has contributed personnel and equipment in support of the state’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic.