81ST READINESS DIVISION: New commanding general assumes duties at Fort Jackson

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) —  Taking charge of the 81st Readiness Division, Robert Harter comes to South Carolina with decades of military experience. 

“It’s awesome to be here in Columbia, South Carolina,” Harter said. “This is a phenomenal community that’s patriotic and supports the Army.”

Robert Harter assumed command of the 81st Readiness Division of the US Army Reserve Wednesday afternoon at Fort Jackson.

“It’s an incredible honor any time you’re able to command in the United States Army. The 81st Readiness Division has a legacy of fighting in World War 1 and 2,” Harter said. “They do great things today and support divisions across the southeast.”

The division supports 497 units across nine southern states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Harter says he looks for a few specific things in a prospective soldier. 

“You look for honor, integrity and character. That’s probably the most important thing,” Harter said. “If we have that magic sauce, we can make any American into a great soldier. I think that’s what I love the most. These young men and women today have joined since 9/11, so they know what the Army’s been doing and still raise their right hand. The willingness to serve their nation and the sacrifices they make is humbling to serve alongside.”

His own family has also made sacrifices during Harter’s military career including Robert’s wife Erin. She was in labor with the couple’s first child when Harter was called aside for a mission. 

“Thanks Erin for all that you have done. That’s for your support and understanding when people pull him away at the most ridiculous times,” said Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of the US Army Reserve.

“Keep your family unit tight and take the hard jobs. A lot of great leaders take the hard jobs,” Harter said. “You’re around them as a youngster and you learn.”

The division that first introduced shoulder patches into the Army now has a new innovative leader in charge.

“It’s sinking in. It’s a huge mission but I got a great team. I’m looking to get after it,” Harter concluded.

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