Greenfield Guardsman Assumes Command of 194th Brigade
BY DAVID FISHER
JACKSON (April 11) – The Tennessee National Guard’s 194th Engineer Brigade performed a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Jackson on Sunday, April 11, involving the promotion of a Greenfield soldier to a top leadership position.
Col. Warner “Nubbin” Ross II, 194th commander and director of schools for Hardeman County, relinquished command to Col. Michael Scates, who resides in Greenfield.
Scates, who served as the executive officer for the 194th, has more than 31 years of military experience. In a ceremony prior to the change of command, Scates was promoted to colonel.
Outgoing commander, Col. Ross, has served as commander of the 194th Engineer Brigade since 2017. During his command, Ross deployed with the 194th to the Middle East, from which they returned earlier this year. Additionally, he led his brigade in supporting Tennesseans throughout the tornado response last March, COVID-19 testing and immunizations, and civil disturbance operations.
Also, during the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael O’Conner, who resides in Jackson, transferred responsibility as the Brigade’s Sergeant Major to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Plemons from Etowah. Both men have held numerous key positions in the military, served in overseas deployments, and earned scores of medals in service to their country.
According to Darrin Hass, Deputy Director, Joint Public Affairs Office, for the Tennessee Military Department, Scates enlisted in the Tennessee Army National Guard January 8, 1990, serving as a Heavy Equipment Operator in the 913th Engineer Company. Following completion of Officer Candidate School at the Tennessee Military Academy, he was commissioned an Engineer officer June 19, 1993.
During his long and productive military career, Col. Scates has served in various top leadership and staff assignment positions within the Tennessee Army National Guard.
Prior to his role as executive officer for the 194th Engineer Brigade in Jackson, Scates served as commander of the 230th Engineer Battalion in Trenton. He also held numerous leadership and staff positions in Jackson, Trenton and Union City.
Col. Scates’ educational background is extensive. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1992, a Bachelor’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1999; Master of Science in Rural Primary Care from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia in 2002; and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in July 2018. He is also a graduate of the US Army War College, Intermediate Level Education, CAS3, the Ordnance Officer Advance Course, APG, MD, and the Engineer Officer Basic, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Col. Scates’ military awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Achievement Medal, AR Component Achievement Medal (8), National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/M Device (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Combat Action Badge, Iraqi Campaign Medal (2), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (1), Meritorious Unit Citation (2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (3), Tennessee National Guard Volunteer Ribbon, Tennessee National Guard Service Ribbon (5), Tennessee National Guard Commendation Ribbon (2), Tennessee National Guard War Service Ribbon (2) Tennessee National Guard Commendation Ribbon (2).
Concerning his civilian occupation, Col. Scates’ serves as Program Director for the Physician Assistant Program at Bethel University in McKenzie, and works as a Physician Assistant-Certified in Family Practice/Internal Medicine at Dresden Medical Clinic in Dresden.
He is married to Beth Wright Scates, and has three children, McCall, 24; Matt, 16; and Phillip, 11.
The 194th is one of nine engineer brigades in the Army National Guard and consists of more than 2,000 soldiers. Subordinate units are located throughout Tennessee.