By Sgt. Brian R. Williams
21st Signal Brigade Public Affairs
Fort Detrick, Md. - The Community Activities Center here was filled to capacity Jan. 10 with those wishing to celebrate and give well wishes to the guest of honor. On that day, Douglas Orsi, commander, 302nd Signal Battalion, 21st Signal Brigade, was promoted to colonel.
Among those in attendance were the Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Maj. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick Commanding General, Maj. Gen. James K. Gilman, Col. Aaron Webster, 21st Signal Brigade commander, family members, and friends of Fort Detrick and the surrounding communities.
Lawrence, who presided over the ceremony, spoke about Orsi's accomplishments and service to the nation.
"When you look at the guidance we received from our Chief of Staff of the Army and the Secretary of the Army that says, 'Who do we want to be our senior leaders in the Army?' If you go through the guidance, you will see Col. Orsi across the entire full spectrum of what we are looking for in our leaders today," she said.
He holds a bachelor's degree in history from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University, and a master's of military arts and science from the Command and General Staff College.
Orsi, a Ramsey, N.J., native, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps in 1988, and began his Army career in Fort Bragg, N.C. where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Anti-Tank Platoon Leader, and Company Executive Officer in the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
He served in the 50th Signal Battalion as a Company Executive Officer and Assistant S-3. Orsi was then assigned to Germany where he served as an Assistant S-3 in the 32nd Signal Battalion; Brigade Signal Officer in the 41st Field Artillery Brigade; Company Commander for Co. A, 32nd Signal Battalion and Systems Integration Officer in the G-6 for Germany-based V Corps.
After Germany, Orsi was assigned to Fort Eustis, Va., as the Operations Officer for the Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization. After attending the Command and General Staff College in 2001, Orsi was assigned as the G-6 Signal Operations Officer for V Corps, and S-3 for the 440th Signal Battalion.
After departing Germany, he was assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command’s System Manager for Future Combat Systems as Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Team Lead. He was also assigned at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania as a Professor of Military Science.
"Think about the career that Col. Orsi has gone through from combat deployments, to understanding our training and doctrine, and where we had to take our regiment, to bringing in our best and brightest, and setting the example for our young ROTC cadets and commissioning them as future leaders," added Lawrence.
Members of the Orsi family participated by removing the Lieutenant Colonel rank from his uniform and pinning on the new rank of Colonel. Once complete, Orsi reaffirmed his oath of office as an officer in the United States Army with Lawrence.
"I have been blessed to serve with great fellow officers from being a rifle platoon leader through battalion commander, sharing some of the greatest memories; I will never forget them," Orsi said. "I would have failed as a leader if it had not been for the superb and professional Noncommissioned Officers who have trained me over the years. NCOs are the backbone of the Army and without them I would have failed," he said.
Orsi said during his speech that he would be remiss if he did not thank the Department of the Army civilians with whom he has worked with and has learned so much.
"Finally, all the Soldiers I have served with have contributed to any success that I have encountered," added Orsi. "Their effort, determination to complete the mission and their sacrifices made in support of our Nation is immense and my words do not bring anywhere near the recognition they deserve. I am humbled to have the privilege to continue to lead and serve with them."
Orsi assumed command of the 302d Signal Battalion in June 2009. The mission of the 302d Signal Battalion is to provide support and defend battle command capabilities for the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, War-fighting Combatant Commanders, all the Armed Services, and other Federal Agencies.