Brig. Gen. James M. Smith became the 31st Chief of Transportation Monday upon receiving the corps colors from Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, during a social-media-broadcasted ceremony performed in Wiley Hall auditorium.
A CASCOM staff officer earlier in his career, Smith returned to Fort Lee from Fort Bragg, N. C., where he was the commanding general for the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 18th Airborne Corps.
“I’m proud to return,” Smith proclaimed, “and I’m happy to join the CASCOM team again.”
Smith replaced Brig. Gen. Jered Helwig who has been reassigned to Hawaii where he will serve as the Indo-Pacific Command director for Logistics, Engineering and Security Cooperation.
After thanking the virtual audience for watching the ceremony, Fogg proudly welcomed Smith and his family back to Fort Lee. “The Army always figures it out, as we could not have chosen a better prepared leader to take the reins of the Transportation School,” he said.
“James is the right leader and fully capable of advancing the Transportation Corps into the future. Welcome to the team.”
Smith, 28 years into his career, takes command of the 78-year-old organization that has more than 64,000 Soldiers spread worldwide. It is among the largest branches of the Army with a mission of moving personnel and material by truck, rail, sea and air. He also will serve as the T-School commandant, responsible for training and delivering professional transporters and multifunctional sustainers.
“I am extremely humbled by the opportunity to serve as the Army’s 31st Chief of Transportation. … I embrace this tremendous responsibility, fully acknowledging the gravity and the role our functions contribute to large-scale combat and multi-domain operations,” Smith acknowledged during the ceremony. “It’s also great to be back at the Home of Sustainment, Fort Lee, and we are excited to forge new relationships with our local community partners.”
He thanked the previous COT and his wife for the smooth transition and their hospitality. “Jered and Diana, we consider you dear friends. We bid you the very best and many blessings as you depart for Hawaii,” Smith concluded.
During the ceremony Fogg thanked Helwig for his service and the many things he accomplished throughout his tenure here.
“Over the last two years serving as the 30th COT, Brig. Gen. Helwig and his team made a huge, positive difference for the Transportation Corps, for CASCOM and, yes, for the Army as well,” Fogg said. “He moved forward with the initiative to rebuild the Transportation Training Brigade and took full responsibility for all transportation training across the Army and across TRADOC. Among other things, the team specifically built a multi-compo brigade that is innovative in its approach, breaking new ground and really making our Army better.”
After a long list of accomplishments Fogg thanked Helwig and his family for their service to Fort Lee, and added that he knows the success will continue at his next assignment.
“Serving as the 30th COT has been an honor and privilege I will remember the rest of my life,” Helwig said in his final statement to the corps. “The corps is a reflection of our Army, a profession where anyone can achieve incredible things based on the content of their character. It is powerful to witness, powerful to participate in, and I will be forever grateful to have been a part of it.
“While I am sad to leave this community, I’m very excited to hand it over to James Smith. He is an exceptional officer, and we have spent many nights on the phone talking about the continuing COVID threat among other long conversations. He is a true friend, and you’ll be blessed – truly blessed – by his leadership.”