629th EMIBn Changes Command at Fort McHenry
Story by Maj. Brendan Cassidy
BALTIMORE, Md. – The 629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion of the Maryland Army National Guard observed their change of command ceremony at Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry on May 25th.
The outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Ryan Gerner, passed the unit colors of the 629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion to Col. B. Clay Jackson, commander of the 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, who in turn entrusted them to the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Pieper, signifying the change of command in a time-honored tradition.
Col. Jackson officiated the ceremony and provided guest remarks, pointing out the work that Gerner had done in the battalion’s Chesapeake Shield 2022 exercise that provided the tools necessary to conduct Military Intelligence Training inside Maryland. A comprehensive, weeklong operation anchored in Glen Arm, Md., Chesapeake Shield laid the foundation for the larger, multistate Fulcrum Strike 2023 exercise. Concluded just days before the change of command ceremony, Fulcrum Strike incorporated and intertwined each of military intelligence’s domains within the brigade while incorporating other elements from across the Maryland National Guard.
Commissioning in 2006 from the Johns Hopkins University ROTC program, Lt. Col. Gerner served for six years as an active-duty infantry and military intelligence officer. He served in positions of platoon leader and executive officer with the 82nd Airborne Division, and as a Battalion Intelligence Officer inside the 1st Infantry Division. He has served in the Maryland Army National Guard since his 2012 transfer. His deployments include Tikrit, Iraq (2007-08) and Irbil, Iraq (2010-2011). His many awards include the Bronze Star, Ranger tab, and Combat Infantry Badge.
Lt. Col. Gerner works full-time as the Supervisor of the 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade’s Active Guard Reserve staff in Towson, Md. Past assignments in the Maryland National Guard include Tactical Officer with the 58th EMIB’s predecessor, the 58th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, commander of the brigade’s headquarters and headquarters company, Operations Officer for the 581st Troop Command Battalion, Operations Officer and Executive Officer of the 629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion, and Deputy Chief of Staff – Intelligence for the Maryland Army National Guard. He responded to multiple state active-duty missions to include Operation Baltimore Rally (2015) and COVID-19 response operations (2020). He will continue with the 58th EMIB as Executive Officer, both in his M-Day and full-time capacity.
“There is no greater honor than to be a Commander inside an organization as great as the Maryland National Guard. Soldiers inside this great organization are professional and dedicated, putting forth hard work and tireless hours to accomplish each task. I want to thank every Soldier in the battalion for going above and beyond to make our battalion one of the best in the state.” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gerner.
Lt. Col. Joseph Pieper was most recently Deputy Chief of Staff for the 29th Infantry Division. His deployments include Bosnia & Herzegovina (2000), Kosovo (2006-07), Balad, Iraq (2010), three tours to Afghanistan (2012, 2014, and 2016), and Kuwait (2021-22). He responded to multiple state active-duty missions to include Operation Baltimore Rally (2015) and COVID-19 response operations (2020).
Lt. Col. Pieper is a graduate of the University of Maryland, double majoring in Finance and Logistics. In his civilian career, he is a DoD Civilian Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He and his wife, Nicole have two sons, William (7) and James (5). Notably, he began his career with the 629th in 1998 as a private and led a platoon of Bravo Company after commissioning as a military intelligence officer in 2005.
“There are no singular acts of accomplishment only a series of steps linked together by persistence, dedication and resilience.” Said Pieper, summarizing his reflections on taking command.
The 629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion is part of the 58th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade of the Maryland Army National Guard. The battalion is headquartered in Laurel, Md. and traces its unit heritage to 1986. For more information on the unit, visit the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/629MIBN/.