1457th Engineers Change Command

 

Written by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

- Published - May 19, 2005

   

Lt. Col. Jefferson S. Burton relinquishes command of the 1457th Engineer Battalion after almost 3 years as the Unit's Commander to Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Lt. Col. Jefferson S. Burton relinquishes command of the 1457th Engineer Battalion after almost 3 years as the unit's Commander to Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — The 1457th Engineer Battalion of the Utah Army National Guard conducted a change of command May 15 at the Camp Williams parade field.

 

At the ceremony, Lt. Col. Jefferson S. Burton officially relinquished command to Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton.

 

Burton had commanded the 1457th since August 2002. During his tenure the battalion served for more than a year in Iraq in 2003-04 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

While in Iraq the 1457th conducted a variety of missions to include building security barriers for Iraq’s new police force, clearing and mapping a series of interconnected tunnels and bunker complexes beneath the Baghdad Airport and constructing a rifle range for coalition forces’ weapons training.

 

Typically, the battalion worked numerous missions concurrently, responding to each with meticulous planning and execution.  It was not long before the 1457th was dubbed the “911 Battalion.”

           

First Armor Division’s Engineer Brigade Commander Col. Don Young oversaw the 1457th Battalion’s efforts in Iraq and had firsthand knowledge of their accomplishments.  He formally recognized the battalion’s performance in a memorandum to Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, the Utah National Guard Adjutant General.          

           

“[The 1457th] quickly became my ‘go-to’ unit.  I assigned my toughest high-visibility missions to this battalion knowing that they would always succeed in a timely and efficient manner,” Young wrote. 

Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton assumed command of the 1457th Engineer Battalion May 15, 2005.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton assumed command of the 1457th Engineer Battalion May 15, 2005.

 

Burton’s wife Charn, when asked about her husband’s service as the 1457th commander said, “I’m incredibly proud! I’m glad that he could take part in preserving freedom and serving our country,” she said.

 

Burton said of his troops, “The Soldiers of the 1457th did a remarkable job in Iraq, just like thousands of other units fighting in the war on terror.” He added, “Our service was not particularly unique, but it was honest and dedicated.  Our reputation with those that know us is a positive one.  We gave our best to every mission.”

 

Burton will continue his service to the Utah National Guard by attending the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., and will return to Utah next year.

 

Dunton assumes command of more than 500 Soldiers assigned to units in American Fork, Mount Pleasant, Price, Tooele, Vernal, Spanish Fork, Blanding, and Camp Williams.

 

Enlisting with the battalion 20 years ago as an E-1, Dunton has served in every available position. 

 

“I’m excited about taking command and taking over such a successful battalion.” Dunton said of his new assignment.

 

After a deployment many units experience a significant amount of attrition, but this is not the case with the 1457th, as only a few Soldiers have opted not to reenlist.

 

However, Dunton knows how important recruiting and retention still is to his unit, and he will give much of his focus to those efforts. At the same time, he expresses gratitude to those who have served and moved on.

 

 “We need to let them know they are appreciated.  We need to thank them for their service,” Dunton said.

 

(Maj. Hank McIntire and Maj. Lorraine Januzelli contributed to this article.)

Lt. Col. Jefferson S. Burton returns the colors back to Col. Willis who in turn hands the colors over to the new commander of the 1457th, Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Lt. Col. Jefferson S. Burton returns the colors back to Col. Willis who in turn hands the colors over to the new commander of the 1457th, Lt. Col. Robert T. Dunton.