• Payne takes command of 40th MP Battalion

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  • Tisha Swart-Entwistle | Staff Writer
    The new commander of the 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention), 15th Military Police Brigade, Lt. Col. Kevin Payne, is no stranger to Fort Leavenworth nor to the soldiers in his new unit. Payne spent the last year as the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks director of operations.
    Payne assumed command from Lt. Col. Travis Jacobs during a ceremony Oct. 3 on Main Parade.
    Col. Dawn Hilton, USDB commandant and commander of the 15th MP Brigade, presided over the ceremony and spoke about the two officers in her remarks.
    “Since the battalion’s reactivation in 2009 here at Fort Leavenworth, the unit has continued the history of excellence stretching all the way back to World War II,” Hilton said. “(Jacobs) took command almost two years ago and has continued its great legacy.”
    Jacobs is staying at Fort Leavenworth and will be serving as the deputy brigade commander for the 15th MP Brigade.
    “Travis, as I reflect on your time here, your dedication and care for the unit and its soldiers serving under your command, you collectively embody what is best about our nation and those who have served in our armed forces,” Hilton said. “Thank you so much for your leadership and your service. I look forward to continuing to work with you as the deputy brigade commander.”
    In his remarks, Jacobs said he was grateful for being a part of the history of the battalion.
    “I’m so proud of this battalion, its soldiers, leaders and our families,” Jacobs said. “So, soldiers, finally, thank you for allowing me to lead, sharing your lives with me, listening to my ideas and for your unwavering loyalty.”
    Hilton said it is fortunate to be able to replace Jacobs with another gifted officer.
    “Lt. Col. Kevin Payne joins us with a wealth of experience,” Hilton said. “I can think of no better qualified leader. You are a man of character and a truly respected leader in our corps.”
    Payne thanked Hilton for her leadership over the past year.
    “You provided just the right mix of oversight and space and the staff is better for it.” Payne said. “It’s an honor to serve with you and I truly look forward to the next two years.”
    Payne said he entered the Army as a specialist in 1997 solely to pay off college loans. He said it seemed like a good idea, pretty cut and dry. During his first four years in the Army, Payne said the leaders he had helped change his path.
    Payne thanked his late grandfather, a World War II veteran, for recommending that he speak to a recruiter more than 20 years ago.
    Page 2 of 2 - “He saw so much in his lifetime, I just wish he was here to see this because I know he would have been proud.” Payne said. “I love you, Granddad.”
    Thanking his parents for traveling to the ceremony, Payne said he also wanted to thank them for the manner in which he was raised and their unconditional support.
    “One of the greatest lessons that I learned from them is that it is possible to be respected, somewhat feared and liked as a leader,” Payne said.
    Payne also expressed his gratitude to his wife, Ilene. The couple met on their first day in the Army in 1997, at basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C.
    “Following basic training, we had identical orders, which would keep us working together for four years,” Payne said. “Some said it was meant to be.”
    The pair later married and when Payne was accepted to officer candidate school, Ilene decided to get out of the Army to take care of the couple’s growing family.
    “The point I want to convey is that Ilene dedicated her life to our family; she dropped her personal goals and sacrificed everything for us,” Payne said. “We’ve come so far and I know we are not done yet.”
    Payne also recognized his children and the many moves they have made as a family over 20 years.
    “They continue to be a blessing to Ilene and I as parents.” Payne said.
    Closing out his remarks, Payne addressed the soldiers of the 40th MP Battalion. He said the soldiers prove their worth every day and he has witnessed this during his tenure as the operations director over the last year.
    “I’m honored to be a member of your team,” Payne said. “I look forward to meeting every single one of you — not discussions with canned responses but honest engagements.”
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