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News | June 19, 2020

Eastern Sector Change of Command

By Skip Wiseman USMEPCOM Public Affairs Photos by Darrin McDufford USMEPCOM Public Affairs


Eastern Sector, United States Military Entrance Processing Command welcomed a new commander at a June 12 virtual change of command ceremony.

Army Col. Joe A. Ratliff assumed command, succeeding Army Col. Leslie E. Darling.

Ratliff assumes command of Eastern Sector after serving as senior personnel policy integrator, Officer Selection Branch, Officer Division and director of Manpower and Personnel Management, Department of the Army Human Resources, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Darling will assume duties as director of Human Resources, Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.

Marine Corps Col. Richard T. Brady, USMEPCOM commander, officiated the event. He thanked Darling during his remarks and noted that Eastern Sector completed 600,000 medical exams and inspects, 1.8 million Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Batteries, 700,000 student tests, 460,000 special tests and 212,000 accessions under her leadership.

“Leslie, your accomplishments, both quantifiable and non-quantifiable, are a testament to your leadership, guidance and mentorship to the over 1,300 men and women – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and DoD civilian employees,” Brady said. “Your contributions to Eastern Sector will continue to grow and bear fruit for years to come.”

Brady then turned his attention to Ratliff.

“It is certainly an honor and a privilege to serve in command in the armed forces and we all know you will do very well,” he said. “Please know that you have the absolute support, trust and confidence of everybody in Eastern Sector and USMEPCOM. We wish you the absolute best as you embark on the next two years.”

Darling thanked her battalion command teams and spoke about having the chance to interact with recruiters and trainers.

“To all my battalion commanders and senior enlisted advisors, thank you for riding this out with me and making it incredibly rewarding,” she said. “It’s really a unique opportunity to partner across to the recruiting services. I made some great working and personal relationships with the people on the recruit training side.”

Ratliff thanked the command for a warm welcome and said he was “lucky.”

“Lucky. You will hear me use this word a lot today. Lucky that my family is safe and healthy. Lucky that I get to continue to serve my nation as the commander of a great organization. Lucky that I get to follow in the footsteps of so many great leaders who have had this job before me,” he said.

 “I am truly honored and humbled to be selected to serve as Eastern Sector commander,” Ratliff said. “I feel lucky to be afforded this opportunity. Command is a privilege and I look forward to this time being the most challenging, unique and exciting of all my assignments.”

USMEPCOM and Eastern Sector, with headquarters in Building 3400, is a joint command staffed with representatives from all five branches of service and Department of the Army civilian employees.

The command, through its 65 military entrance processing stations, determines if applicants are qualified for enlistment in the armed forces based on aptitude, medical and conduct standards set by the Department of Defense and the services.

Eastern Sector is headquarters for 34 stations east of the Mississippi River.


Army Col. Joe A. Ratliff, incoming Eastern Sector commander, is piped aboard for the change of command ceremony.

Marine Corps Col. Richard T. Brady, USMEPCOM commander makes remarks at the Eastern Sector change of command.

Marine Corps Col. Richard T. Brady, USMEPCOM commander, presents the Maj. Gen. Horace Graham Gold Medal to Army Col. Leslie E. Darling, outgoing Eastern Sector commander.

Army Col. Joe A. Ratliff accepts command of Eastern Sector from Marine Corps Col. Richard T. Brady, USMEPCOM commander.​