Discover Madison Kentucky January-February 2021 - Page 20

Lt . Colonel Williams aims to better BGCA
We Live Here
Edward Williams

‘ Better than I found it ’

Lt . Colonel Williams aims to better BGCA
Words by | Taylor Six

Before he ended up as

the Commander of Blue Grass Chemical Activity on the grounds of the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County , Lieutenant Colonel Edward Williams had several encounters with the Bluegrass State .
His father was stationed at Fort Knox when Williams was a young boy . His brother also graduated from Western Kentucky University , and at one point prior , his own service brought him to the commonwealth .
Additionally , Williams admitted he has always been a University of Kentucky Wildcats fan .
“ So , I am quite a fan of Kentucky ,” he said .
That ’ s high praise for someone who spent much of his life traveling all over the country serving , and eventually becoming , a decorated military official .
A Georgia native , he received his commission in the U . S . Army in October 2001 as a Chemical , Biological , Radiological , Nuclear , and Explosive material ( CBRNE ) officer , according to his BGCA biography .
Additionally , Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies , a Master of Science in Environmental Management , and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security .
Throughout his military career , Williams has served in numerous positions , including : group CBRNE officer for the 46th Corps Support Group both in Garrison and Afghanistan ; company executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company 46th Combat Support Group ; Platoon Leader for 101st Chemical Company ; XVIII Airborne Corps Special Troops Battalion ; S1 Adjutant for Headquarters Commandant to the Multi-National Force in Iraq / Multi- National Corps
in Iraq ( forward ); and XVIII Airborne Corps Special Troops Battalion Assistant S3 Operation Officer at Fort Bragg , North Carolina .
After a brief period in his youth , Williams returned to Kentucky for his own service as operations officer for the 101st Air Assault Division Installation Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Academy at Fort Campbell .
From there , he served as a senior training developer for both the active and reserve component Chemical Captain Career Course at Fort Leonard Wood , Missouri .
Before becoming Commander of Blue Grass Chemical Activity , Williams ’ previous assignment was as an Intermediate-Level Education Instructor ( common core ) at Fort Leavenworth , Kansas .
On July 1 , Williams assumed command of the BGCA from former Lt . Col . Rodney McCutcheon and stated he was prepared to take over the “ stellar ” operation already occurring on the depot .
As commander , Williams is in charge of the supportive efforts of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity to deliver chemical munitions to Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant ( BGCAPP ) for destruction and is responsible for the safe and secure storage of the chemical weapons stockpile at Blue Grass Army Depot ( BGAD ).
“ I enjoy the community ,” he said of his arrival to Madison County for his service . “ It has a real home feel and I have had the opportunity to interact with ( Richmond ) Mayor ( Robert ) Blythe and that was a very wholesome experience . I am a big fan of Madison County , Kentucky .”
Since taking the helm of the operations with Chemical Activity , Williams has had the unique experience of working with the other separate organizations of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity Pilot Plant as well as the Blue Grass Army Depot .
“ It is unique , each organization has their own swim lane , and what we do as a team is work and trust BGAD and BGCAPP to execute and support the completion of the demilitarization mission ,” Williams said .
Another unique quality Williams has faced in his time on the installation , is navigating the assistance of weapons destruction during a global pandemic .
While safety has always been a priority , it became even more so during the pandemic .
When asked about what the effort has been like , the longtime military official laughed before discussing the extensive and frequent conversations of safety at work and home .
“ During COVID-19 , what we do is have a biweekly update where we talk about the practices and problems ...,” he explained .
He and his staff discuss topics such as masks , sanitation , stranger bias , quarantine fatigue , and the similarities between chemical and biological accidents to name a few .
But other than the safety of his staff and completion of the mission , Williams ’ personal goal is to leave BGCA better than he found it .
“ It is my goal to improve the fox hole ,” he said . “ And any issues , we will work to orchestrate to address those and anything to make things better . We do that so that the successor who comes in can do that and not miss a skip .”
20 Madison Magazine January-February 2021