Lt. Col. Mike Peeters, shown with a group of children in Iraq, is scheduled to assume command of the Army Reserve's 442nd/100th Battalion today. CLICK FOR LARGE
442nd/100th gets new commander
He has served twice in Iraq, including as second-in-command in the 2005-2006 tour
Lt. Col. Mike Peeters, a veteran of two combat tours in Iraq, is scheduled to assume command today of the Army Reserve's only infantry unit, the 442nd/100th Battalion.
Peeters, 44, served as the battalion's second-in-command for three years, including its 2005-2006 tour in Iraq, when the unit was one of three infantry battalions assigned to the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team.
As a soldier with 19 years of service, including three as an active-duty officer during the 1991 Gulf War with the 1st Cavalry Division, Peeters said his biggest challenge "is to ensure that my soldiers are ready for the next mobilization."
The 100th Battalion initially was composed of Japanese-American recruits, and its success on battlefields in Italy eventually led to the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team -- one of the most decorated Army units in World War II.
"I have nothing but pride to have this opportunity to lead this unit," said Peeters. "It's a wonderful unit, and I am honored to have been chosen as its commander."
He said that of the nearly 500 citizen-soldiers assigned to the 100th Battalion, about 30 percent are from Hawaii, with the remainder recruited from Guam, American Samoa and Saipan.
Under current Pentagon rules, the 29th Brigade, which left 30 percent of its equipment in Iraq in January 2006, is supposed to be off the mobilization list until 2011.
The 100th Battalion will spend its required 15 days of active duty at Schofield Barracks in June, focusing on tactical operations, Peeters said.
In August, unit members will participate in exercises in Malaysia and Singapore.
Peeters received his Army commission through the University of Wisconsin ROTC program, and after serving in the active Army transferred to the Army reserve here 14 years ago.