Ortega named commander of 1138th Eng. Sapper Co.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
During the ceremony, the unit guidon was passed from Lt. Col. John Oberkirsch (left), commander of the 1140th Engineer Battalion, to Capt. Miguel Ortega (right), of O’Fallon, to symbolize the transfer of authority and responsibility for the 1138th Engineer Sapper Company in Farmington and Fredericktown.

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Capt. Miguel Ortega, of O'Fallon, has been appointed the new commander for the 1138th Engineer Sapper Company in Farmington and Fredericktown.

During the ceremony, the unit guidon was passed to Ortega to symbolize the transfer of authority and responsibility.

"It's a great honor to be named your commander," Ortega told the Soldiers of the 1138th Engineer Sapper Company. "I'm humbled to command one of the best units in the military."

Ortega is well-liked by his new Soldiers and staff, who look forward to working with their new commander, said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Crites, readiness noncommissioned officer for the unit.

"Capt. Ortega comes to us with a lot of great ideas and new plans to make us a more efficient and field-oriented unit," said Crites. "He's focused on making us a better and more prepared unit. We all feel honored to be serving in his command."

Ortega's experience as a combat veteran will be a great asset to the company, said Lt. Col. John Oberkirsch, commander of the 1140th Engineer Battalion.

"He's deployed with this very unit in 2007 and that experience will lend itself to the company now," said Oberkirsch. "He's an absolute professional, task-oriented and extremely organized. He'll be able to get this unit ready for the next mission if called upon."

Being ready for a deployment or state emergency duty is a priority for him as a commander but he has great Soldiers who can fulfill any mission, said Ortega.

"We have a lot to do over the next couple of years while I'm here." Ortega told the Soldiers. "I've worked with a lot of you before and we have a lot of new outstanding noncommissioned officers. Together we will be able to achieve any task set before us."

Ortega has served in the Missouri National Guard since 1997. He deployed with the 1138th Engineer Company in 2007-2008 doing route clearance operations in Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ortega is supported in his military career by his wife Angel, their two children Dennis, 23, and Cris, 15, and his parents Miguel and Maria Ortega, of Centennial, Colo.

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