An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Features : Display
NEWS | Feb. 4, 2015

Getting to know the 733rd MSG commander

By Senior Airman Kimberly Nagle 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As gentle winds blow across the James River and roadways while parking lots stand empty, still basking in the orange glow and soft hum of street lamps, the calm silence crescendos in anticipation of the day ahead.

Before the sun's rays peek over the horizon and the moon slowly recedes, making way for the gold and purples of sunrise, one U.S. Army Soldier basks in the silence - the calm before the storm.

Despite the stillness, Col. William Galbraith, 733rd Mission Support Group commander, prepares for the day.

"I wake up at 4:30 a.m. every morning," he said. "I think about how to make this a great installation and how to meet the needs of the community."

Before attending an ROTC program to begin his career as a commissioned officer, Galbraith started his Army life as an enlisted member.

"While attending boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga., I went from my old self thinking I was going nowhere to a new man," said Galbraith. "I even had drill sergeants telling me I had 'something special about me', even though I never really saw it."

After 26 years in the Army, Galbraith's assignment at Fort Eustis marks his first time as garrison commander. Despite never thinking he would get to this place, he feels each day brings a new challenge.

"I never saw myself even being an officer," said Galbraith. "Now here I am the garrison commander embracing the challenges around me."

Galbraith said the mission as the 733rd MSG commander changes daily. While signing paperwork for misbehavior or sending a unit off for an upcoming deployment, Galbraith said he tries to tackle each day with optimism.

The role of commander has taught Galbraith the importance of balancing all aspects of his life, he said.

Like every other Soldier, fitness requirements, managing family and work life may be difficult, and Galbraith said this is no different for himself. 

"Time management is very difficult in this job, there are many things that can eat at your schedule," he said. "But for me, waking up early in the morning or staying at work late gets me caught up, but it does get into family and sleep time, and that's where it gets hard."

As a husband and father of four, Galbraith admits he often puts work first, but not because he wants to, but because the mission needs him.

"I have two missions in life," said Galbraith. "My family life, and my work life. When I am the person who has to be in charge of 2,000 Soldiers, that task comes first."

During a typical day, Galbraith will attend a wide range of meetings, ceremonies, deployments, re-deployments and ribbon cuttings. Despite the hectic schedule, Galbraith said he uses these events to interact with the Fort Eustis community,

"The only way I have the ability to connect with the Soldiers is to make sure my presence is known," he said. "I do things like my workouts outside as a way to have facial recognition, and being a part of councils or boards also helps me connect."

Galbraith said an important challenge is to connect with and meet the expectations of every Fort Eustis member and to show them how they installation leadership is able to work for them.

"I need to make sure everyone has their standard comforts first, things like heat and a sound roof, while making sure the post stays current," he said. "It is important that we hear the needs of the community, so that we can do things like host events for them."

Despite long days, time away from the family and a heavy work load, Galbraith sees his position as an honor.

"I have to make small and big decisions all day long," he said "It could be something as simple as a pipe bursting and sending out the right people, or making a career-changing decision for a Soldier, it is not always easy to do, but I rely on others around me and the facts to help me."

A personal goal of Galbraith's, before he departs in 2016, is to bridge the gap between the local community and Fort Eustis.

"I want [the community] to see us as partners," he said. "I want Fort Eustis to be more than this place they might not know much about."

"I think Fort Eustis has so much potential and we are trying to meet the expectations all the time," said Galbraith. "It's a great place to live, play and work."

As the sun falls west once more and buildings clear, the streetlamp's soft hum returns as they bath Eustis in orange. Galbraith sits at his desk completing the day's work and preparing for next. With the sun now gone and the moon in full force, Galbraith will leave for the day, with extra work in tow - ready for tomorrow's storm.