FORT LEE, Va. – A University of Montana graduate and former enlisted Pershing Missile crewmember has moved into the top military position at the Army Logistics University.
Col. Brent D. Coryell, previously the deputy commander at Defense Logistics Agency Indo-Pacific was welcomed as ALU’s commandant during an assumption of responsibility ceremony Aug. 21 in Heiser Hall’s Multipurpose Room.
Guests present at the event included Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, Coryell’s family and a host of sustainment leaders from every corner of the installation.
Michael K. Williams, ALU president, presided over the ceremony. During remarks, he said the dual-hatted position of commandant and military deputy is full of challenges and expectations, and requires a high level of acuity.
“Our military students will look to you for leadership,” he said, directing his statement at Coryell. “…You’ll spend countless hours mentoring, coaching, developing, and when necessary, disciplining Soldiers as the senior military service member of ALU.”
Williams also forewarned Coryell about the demands that would be placed upon him as the school revamps its curriculum so it fits snugly with the Army’s strategic vision of reshaping the force for future large-scale combat operations, on top of managing more than 2,000 or so mostly lieutenants, 60-80 international students from 40 nations and 10-30 weekly class-starts.
The ALU president concluded his time at the lectern saying he looks forward to working together with the new commandant. He quipped, “after five concussions (as a former football player) … I’m still coachable, willing to learn, lead, follow and be your best partner and teammate ….”
Coryell was clearly comfortable behind the microphone. His remarks leaned toward humorous self-deprecation while reflecting on past assignments with many who were sitting in the audience. On the serious side, the colonel said he is grateful for the assignment and somewhat described how he intends to execute his duties.
“The president’s and my vision is for this university to be on par or better than (those) in the civilian sector,” he said. “We have to educate and develop our leaders of all ranks – making them skilled at logistics, acquisition, requirements development and operations research analysis – and our culture here has to be multi-functional.
“The university serves as the focal point for ordnance, quartermaster, transportation and all logistics professional military education,” he continued. “We have to provide the students here with the skills and knowledge required to successfully perform at the entry level, mid-career and senior positions. We have to be battlefield-focused and able to support large-scale ground combat operations. That is our core competency.”
Coryell then assured audience members he is not seeking to change things for the sake of change.
“The president and I talked, and we don’t want to fix anything that is not broken,” he said. “Everybody’s worried about the new guy coming in, and everything’s going to be changed; no, if it’s working, we’ll keep it working. If it’s not and there’s things we need to improve on – whether its test control, instructor qualification, whatever it is – we will work that, and I’m ready for it.”
As his remarks drew to a close, Coryell took the time to acknowledge and thank personnel who head the various directorates and departments of ALU.
Enlisting in 1988, Coryell spent three years as a field artilleryman in Germany. In 1996, he became an ordnance officer and spent the bulk of his career in divisional maintenance units. His staff assignments, among others, include chief of logistics information systems; chief of sustainment and distribution; and executive officer, J4, European Command.
Coryell replaced Col. James Godfrey who was reassigned as the G4, 1st Army, Rock Island, Ill.