New chain of command with boots on the ground

Chris Troesh from Cheyenne and who was the head of IT is now the new base commander at Camp Guernsey as of Aug. 10. Col. Joseph Huss, the former commander has been assigned a new position at the Cheyenne National Guard facility. Photo by Mark DeLap

GUERNSEY – There’s a new sheriff in town. So to speak. Welcome aboard Col. Chris Troesh.

Camp Guernsey has had its former commander, Col. Joseph Huss who had been in the lead position at the camp for two years, reassigned to Cheyenne at the U.S. Army National Guard facility.

Troesh was originally from Redlands, California, and was there until 2003 when he moved to Virginia for 10 years and then on to Wyoming. He and his wife have lived in the Cheyenne area since 2013.

“I went into the military mainly because I just had no direction,” he said. “I had no idea what I wanted to do, my thought process was at the four winds.”

Troesh said he had a hard time deciding where to go and what to do when he got there. After talking with a recruiter who talked about becoming an engineer and designing bridges. It seemed interesting to him, so that’s what he did. 

“I did not design bridges but I was a combat engineer,” Troesh said. “Which means I was an infantry guy with more toys. Most guys walked around with just his stuff, I walked around with 100 pounds more.”

Troesh joined the Army Reserves in 1992 at the time when all combat arms left the Reserves and so he joined the guard as 1st   25 armor out of San Bernadino where he states that he became the Army’s worst chaplain’s assistant.

“Our chaplain was a good guy, but he wasn’t really present,” Troesh said. “Chaplains have weird rules, and so he took advantage of them all. A good chaplain’s assistant would have said, ‘my chaplain’s not here and I should probably do the services. And I just didn’t. I worked in the admin offices just basicly as an admin person. I could type, they adopted me and I didn’t do my job as a chaplain’s assistant.”

Troesh went to officer candidate’s school in 1997 and graduated in 1998. He became a chemical officer which he still is to this day. He was the battle captain in the Army Chem Corp.

“In 2003 an opportunity came open in Virginia to become a survey team leader for a civil support team,” he said. “It’s a team that responds to terrorist threats. They deal with domestic response to terrorist events.”

Some teams have since branched out to an all hazards response team, so if there’s a natural disaster or floods or fires or a man-made disaster like a terrorist attack, they can respond to that.

He did spend some time overseas in a town called Tajikistan which is a town surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. While there he aided the locals on forming their own hazards response team and in fact, helped them build that team.

“Chemical officers’ specialties are nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, so that’s what my specialty was,” Troesh said. “I did that up until 2016 and then in 2016 I moved over to the IT department.”

Troesh literally put his boots on the ground in Guernsey and began running. In two week’s time, he is now going to a lot of meetings to find out all he is responsible for and is gaining a knowledge of the mission of Camp Guernsey.

“The goal of the camp is to be really responsive to the needs of the camp and the state, so if there are any issues, the folks at the camp here can respond to that,” Troesh said. “Coupled with that is building up partnerships with the local community and making sure that they kind of know what we’re doing and we know what they’re doing. The intent is to be as transparent as possible.

“On the military department side, one of the things we are striving for is that Wyoming units are really to become the priority for the camp. In essence, 80% of the camp is dedicated to Wyoming as opposed to other states coming in and bumping our units, so that our troops are taken care of first.”

Troesh said that he is learning much in the two weeks he’s been at the camp, and already he is getting a handle on how it all works and how it’s going to work under his command.

“I don’t know all the intricacies of it yet,” he said. “But the staff here is very good and they’ve been doing their job for a very long time. So for me, I have to make sure that everybody is seeing and everybody is talking and nobody’s doing anything in a vacuum. And that’s really true of any organization.”

He said that it was tricky, but important to be able to “keep all the balls in the air.” 

“What I’ve found is that if an organization tries to keep all that stuff and try to compartmentalize knowledge and don’t share it, then things start falling by the wayside. Or when someone leaves they become so invaluable that institutional knowledge is gone. And I think that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Troesh figures to be at Camp Guernsey for two, possibly three years as the military never lets anyone get too comfortable for fear of stagnation. He is an organizer and knows how to surround himself with good people to get the best out of the command and the camp. He is looking forward to gaining more knowledge about Guernsey and his new surroundings.

As for commuting or relocating, he is just taking it one step at a time and it’s not time for that step or that decision yet. Right now he is being kept extremely busy as the staff is helping him to command his post.

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