Black Knights of the 221st EMIB receive new commander

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Burton, incoming commander of the 221st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion receives the unit’s colors from Brig. Gen. Thomas Blackstock, commander of the 78th Troop command to symbolize his assumption of command. (Maj. William Carraway/Georgia Army National Guard)
July 15, 2019

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Burton assumed command of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 221st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion from Lt. Col. John Fuchko during a ceremony Fort Gillem Saturday July 13, 2019. Brigadier General Thomas Blackstock, commander of the Marietta-based 78th Troop Command, presided over the ceremony.

“Thank you for being here today as we celebrate the change of command between two fine warrior leaders,” said Blackstock. “I deeply appreciate the steady outstanding leadership you have provided to this battalion and in other assignments.”

Burton assumes command following a term as executive officer of the 78th TC. After commissioning as a second lieutenant in 2003 from the Georgia Military Institute’s Officer Candidate School, Burton served in a wide variety of positions and deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He served previously in the 221st EMIB as its administrative officer. Fuchko will assume Burton’s former duties with the Ellenwood-based brigade.

In his remarks following the assumption of command, Burton thanked Fuchko for his support and recognized senior leaders for entrusting him with the command.

“It is my honor to assume command of this battalion,” said Burton. “I will not let you down.”

Burton noted that his family is very familiar with the 221st. In addition to his experience, Burton explained that his wife Venus Burton had also served as a platoon leader in the 221st.

In recognition of his service as commander of the 221s EMIB, Fuchko, received the Meritorious Service Medal from Blackstock who also presented Fuchko’s wife Sherie with the Georgia Commendation Medal. Addressing the Black Knights of the 221st MI Battalion for the last time as commander, Fuchko thanked Blackstock for the opportunity of command and praised his Soldiers, family members, commanders and staff.

“I had an incredible group of leaders supported by phenomenal staff,” said Fuchko. “I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard from leaders both in state and outside who speak highly of what you do.”
Fuchko concluded his remarks by introducing the incoming commander to the assembled Soldiers of the 221st EMIB.

“He is a strong confident quiet leader, said Fuchko. “I can’t think of a better person to assume command.”

Organized in 1998, the 221st EMIB has deployed as a battalion to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. Units and teams from the 221st EMIB have deployed multiple times to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Most recently, Soldiers of the 221st EMIB supported efforts during Operation Inherent Resolve and provided personnel in support of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s deployment to Afghanistan in January 2019.