Col. James Welch is no stranger to the opportunities a career in the Army can afford for young people across the southeast.
That’s why he is a perfect fit for his new role as the commander of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade on Redstone Arsenal.
“I grew up in rural Arkansas, and the Army allowed me to see the world and do things that I wouldn’t otherwise do,” Welch said. After a change of command ceremony on July 22, Welch will spearhead the recruiting efforts of the entire southeast region.
Military service was a family tradition for Welch’s family, although he didn’t necessarily plan on making a career in the Army. Now in his 22nd year of service, Welch has served in myriad assignments, including overseas duty in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
An intelligence officer, Welch is also quite familiar with recruiting: He was the company commander of the Peachtree City Recruiting Company, Atlanta Recruiting Battalion 2005-06, and was recently commander of the Montgomery Army Recruiting Battalion 2018-20. That prior experience within the 2nd Recruiting Brigade made his new role a “dream job.”
“It’s such a strategically important mission for our Army and for our nation,” Welch said. His experience in intelligence will allow him to “apply an analytical lens to what we do in our recruiting efforts,” he said, ensuring that the mission of Army recruiting is upheld and pursued diligently.
“Overall, if we don’t do our job and fill the ranks of the Army, there’s no Army.”
His previous experience as a recruiter also gives him a unique insight into the heavy lifting the Soldiers and civilians under his command do every day.
“It allows me to have an appreciation for the hard work and the dedication that these recruiters have day in and day out,” Welch said. “I understand the difficulties they may face day in and day out, and I think because of that, I can help ensure they have the resources and the things that they need to do their job and do it well.”
He is also looking forward to the new responsibilities he will have as a brigade commander.
“All the duties and all the commands I’ve had before were really looking down and in,” Welch said. “As a brigade commander, you get to be able to look out and up. You build those relationships outside of the organization to help our Soldiers and civilians achieve their mission. So, I think that’s going to be the key difference. Certainly, I still have an inward focus to take care of my Soldiers, but I get to look bigger, strategically.”
Welch and his family – wife Jenny and children Bryce, Katherine and William – arrived on Redstone Arsenal July 9 and are grateful for how welcoming the community has been thus far.
Welch looks forward to the positive impact he can make as brigade commander and has big goals for his tenure at Redstone Arsenal.
“We are going to be the number one recruiting brigade in the U.S. Army, without a doubt,” he said. “If I can do that and ensure that our Soldiers and civilians are able to achieve their personal and professional goals, I’ll consider myself a success.”