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Colonel William Parker is the new Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal

Col. William Parker is the new Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal
Col. William Parker
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U.S. Garrison Army Rock Island Arsenal
Col. William Parker is the new Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal

Col. Parker has been in the armed forces for nearly 23 years.

Col. Parker hopes to continue the mission of his predecessor, Col. Daniel Mitchell, of being open to the Quad Cities community.

"Really what we want to be is that window into America's army and showcase some of that capability," Col. Parker said in a phone interview with WVIK. "I hope over my two-year tenure as the next garrison commander to get out and engage with the local community and highlight those things."

Col. Parker laughed when asked about an average day as garrison commander.

"There is no such thing as an average day. The only thing that's constant in the army is change we like to say," Col. Parker said. "The job of garrison commander is essentially a military command and control component of it, a mayoral...municipality manager piece to this; you have a community engagement piece."

Col. Parker says it takes three to seven minutes to apply for an annual visitor's pass on the island, and residents can enjoy various services. These include dog parks, rental facilities, fishing spots, and museums.

"Coming soon hopefully a nine-hole golf course in the coming months," Col. Parker said.

He says post-911 America affected the presence of the island's place in the community.

"You know, post-911, the fences went up, and everyone can see the island as a dark hole in the middle of the Mississippi that you can't get to," Col. Parker said. "My bumper sticker is 'Hey, we're open; come give us a shot, come see the next generation of Rock Island Arsenal."

The change of command ceremony was held today at 10 am at the Arsenal.

Brady is a 2021 Augustana College graduate majoring in Multimedia Journalism-Mass Communication and Political Science. Over the last eight years, he has reported in central Illinois at various media outlets, including The Peoria Journal Star, WCBU Peoria Public Radio, Advanced Media Partners, and WGLT Bloomington-Normal's Public Media.