203D Military Intelligence Battalion changes command

Incoming Commander Maj. Jason Constable holds the unit guideon as he prepares to take command of the 203D Military Intelligence Battalion from outgoing Commander Lt. Col. C. Ryan Gunst (right). Col. Russell Laraway (left) commander for the Training Support Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, served as host of the ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, July 21, 2017.| U.S. Army photo by Lauren Finnegan, APG News

Members of Team APG and the surrounding community braved extreme heat to say goodbye to 203D Military Intelligence Battalion (Technical Intelligence) Commander Lt. Col. C. Ryan Gunst and welcome incoming Commander Maj. Jason R. Constable during the unit’s change of command ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, July 21.

The 203D Military Intelligence Battalion began after American forces suffered considerable losses because of technological surprises at the hands of the Germans in North Africa during World War II. Avoiding technological surprise remains a core goal of the unit. As the nature of warfare becomes more complex with technological advances, the essential value of the TECHINT contribution to the the current intelligence picture also increases.

Col. Russell M. Laraway, commander of the Training Support Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, served as host.

Laraway said that while the unit was “collectively disappointed” to see Gunst depart, they see a bright future for him.

“[We are] hopeful and anticipate great things as you depart for senior services college, an assignment [that’s] a sign of the great trust and potential that the Army sees in you,” he told Gunst. “Thank you for your dedication, hard work, and loyalty throughout.”

Gunst, a native of Richmond Virginia, graduated and received his commission into the Signal Corps the The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, in 1997. In 2008, he completed the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course and transferred to the Military Intelligence Corps. Past assignments include the 52nd Signal Battalion in Stuttgart, Germany, and the 3300 Strategic Intelligence Group in Washington D.C.

Gunst holds a Bachelors of Science in biology, a Masters of Science in telecommunications management, and a Masters of Science in strategic intelligence.

Gunst said he could not have had a successful year with the 203D without the support of the entire unit, and he thanked them for their hard work.

“No command or commander is successful on their own and I would not be standing here without the support of the people around me,” he said. “To the soldiers of the 203D, thank you for your hard work and sacrifice. I’ve demanded a lot from this team over the last year and you’ve never failed to deliver. Never.”

Gunst said that he had complete confidence in Constable’s leadership skills, and that he could think of no one better to pass the guideon to.

He added, “Maj. Constable, cherish this. It’s fleeting… Stay ready to go, ready to lead, and ready to fight.”

Constable leaves his position as Battalion Executive Officer of the 203D to take command of the unit. He thanked Gunst and his wife Alicia for their hospitality and said that he was excited about his future leading the 203D.

“I am enthusiastic about the year that lies ahead for all of us,” he said. Addressing his unit, he added, “I’d like you to take a look at this audience and the representatives that are standing there. This is a tremendous amount of support and it’s here for you.”

During the ceremony, Gunst’s wife, Alicia, was presented red roses as a symbol of the care and devotion she rendered to members of the unit. Constable’s wife, Melissa, was welcomed with yellow roses to signify the friendships that will blossom between her and the unit family.

Constable’s military career began in 2003 when he was commissioned into the Regular Army in Military Intelligence and detailed to Armor for three years from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Since then, Constable has successfully held leadership and staff positions, including troop executive officer, and later as squadron intelligence officer for the 5th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

He accepted a position in the Army Reserve in 2009. Prior to coming to the 203D, Constable served as the Brigade S3 with the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

By Lauren Finnegan, APG News