Public Affairs Officer
SLOAN, Nev. — Maj. Leopold Karanikolas, a Las Vegas native, United States Military Academy, West Point, 2002 graduate and Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer, assumed command of the 314th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from Lt. Col. Julie Aksamit, who has led the unit for the past two years, at the George W. Dunaway Army Reserve Center in Sloan, Nevada, May 17.
Karanikolas enlisted in the Army in 1996 as an operations system analyst. He attended the U.S. Military Preparatory School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, before appointment to West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with a major in International Strategic History.
The ceremony began with the traditional ceremonial pageantry. The standing units were summoned to order arms. The audience stood for the Presentation of the Colors and Honors, and the units were brought to present arms, then to parade rest. These displays of uniformity were executed with discipline and precision.
Aksamit thanked everyone present, especially the Soldiers of the battalion for their contribution to her command. She pointed out that there were bumps along the way, but together they were able to raise the standard and increase the unit readiness.
Karanikolas was enthusiastic and energized as he accepted the 314th CSSB command, thanking the Soldiers and distinguished visitors for their presence. First he addressed Aksamit saying, “Thank you for your dedication and service and may your retirement be as successful as your command.
Karanikolas then addressed Col. Amy Taitano, 650th Regional Support Group commanding officer, saying, “Thank you for your support and mentorship through the years. I am humbled and honored by the trust you have placed in me.”
In the center of the parade field, the formal transfer of authority and responsibility for the unit took place. Command Sgt. Maj. Mario Canizales, who is the keeper of the colors, passed the colors to Aksamit, the outgoing commander. She then passed the colors to Col. Taitano, the representative of the higher command, symbolizing the relinquishment of her command. Col. Taitano then delivered the colors to Karanikolas, the new commander.
Finally, the new commander passed it back to the command sergeant major, who is charged with protecting it. At the end of the ceremony, the commander of the higher command ordered the new battalion commander to take charge of his battalion.
“I look forward to working with Command Sgt. Maj. Canizales. Your wealth of knowledge and knowing what right looks like will be invaluable,” said Karanikolas. “To the troops I want you to know that I will be here for you and together we will get the mission done.”
Karanikolas’s prior assignments include serving as the Executive Officer NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Battle Captain Abu Ghraib Baghdad, Iraq.
The mission of the 314th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion is to provide mission command of all assigned and attached units of the Combat Sustainment Support Battalion as it operates logistics hubs of supply, transportation, and maintenance support to the Sustainment Brigade and supported Brigade Combat Teams.