FORT LEE, Va. (June 24, 2010) – Sustainment leaders from across the Army gathered here June 14-19 for the 2010 Quartermaster Symposium, an opportunity to receive updates, participate in training and share information on current and future quartermaster initiatives.
The theme of this year’s symposium was “Honoring the Past; Resetting for the Future,” and according to Larry Toler, deputy to the quartermaster general, the forum served as an opportunity to recognize past accomplishments and focus on future operations simultaneously.
“We recognized and honored 235 years of supporting victory from the early days of the Revolutionary War to the current fight in the mountains of Afghanistan,” said Toler. “To do that, we conducted three dedication ceremonies naming facilities after former quartermaster leaders. While we recognized the past, we also used the knowledge we’ve gained to reset for the future.”
The week-long event was comprised of five major components: QM Command Sergeants Major and Sergeants Major Conference, QM Warrant Officer Conference, QM Symposium, dedication ceremonies and static displays of emerging logistics systems and equipment.
“The Quartermaster Corps leadership considers this symposium to be a major training event and attendees are expected to return to their units and provide updated information, including doctrinal changes, to their units or sections,” said Toler.
“This year, we highlighted FM 4.0, the Army Leader Development Strategy, and (the process of) mentorship. We also shared initiatives in our materiel requirements such as updated fuel and water equipment, aerial delivery equipment, new field feeding equipment and automated systems.”
The static displays served a vital role during the symposium as they afforded leaders an opportunity to see new equipment. “We had approximately 130 exhibits of materiel currently being fielded or in development,” said Toler. “Sharing this information gives the operational commanders a heads-up on the type of equipment their units will be receiving and helps them prepare for the new training requirements.”
A large portion of the information sharing process was accomplished during the Sergeants Major and Warrant Officer Conferences that took place the first days of the symposium.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jack Van Zanten, quartermaster regimental chief warrant officer, said the warrant officer conference echoed the symposium theme by sharing updated information from the field and dedicating an Army Logistics University corridor in honor of the late Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steve Chobanian.
During one of his addresses at the conference, Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, Combined Arms Support Command, Sustainment Center of Excellence commanding general and quartermaster general, said of Chobanian, “He devoted his entire professional life, 56 years, to our corps; the equivalency of two maybe three generations of quartermaster Soldiers to include international students.”
In addition to the dedication ceremony, the warrant officer corps inducted four distinguished members of the Quartermaster Regiment: Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jack Van Zanten, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Candis Martin, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pamela Null and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Verona Williams.
The Command Sergeants Major and Sergeants Major Conference enjoyed similar success as 62 retired and active duty quartermasters tackled issues and concerns raised by the operating and generating forces. They also received updates on upcoming changes to the sergeants major corps and participated in team building exercises.
“The sergeants major enjoyed getting together for camaraderie and mentorship from former and current command sergeants major and sergeants major,” said Sgt. Maj. Andrea Farmer, QM School enlisted proponent sergeant major. “The entire event served as a great opportunity to share information and build relationships.”
Toler said the symposium was a great success and served as a valuable tool for arming quartermasters with a shared vision.
“As we look to the future, the Quartermaster Corps must be prepared to support joint forces across the full spectrum of operations,” he said. “That happens by sharing information during events like this.”