FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 15, 2010) – Less than three months after the Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence guidon was handed over to Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, it was passed once again to Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge Sept. 9 at Williams Stadium.
Cross, the Quartermaster General, was asked to wear two hats during the three-month gap between the departure of Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, the previous CASCOM and SCoE commanding general, and the arrival of Hodge, who was still at his previous assignment as the U.S. Army Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command commander at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Lt. Gen. John E. Sterling, Training and Doctrine Command deputy commanding general and chief of staff, officiated at both ceremonies and recalled his remarks to Cross earlier in the year.
“Almost three months ago, I stood here on this very spot and said farewell to Jim Chambers and passed the Sustainment Center of Excellence colors to Jesse Cross as we awaited the arrival of Jim and Michelle Hodge,” said Sterling. “At the time, I remember I told Jesse Cross not to get too comfortable in command of the CASCOM and SCoE because the day would surely come soon when Maj. Gen. Hodge will break free from Scott Air Force Base and come to claim his role as the commander here at Fort Lee.
“I also remarked on that day how fortunate we are to have Jesse Cross to step into the breach, to bridge the gap until the Hodges were available,” Sterling continued. “Jesse represents the best possible commander we could have hoped for in this mission. He brought lots of TRADOC experience with him. He knows everyone at SCoE and in the Fort Lee community, and is dedicated to all of the initiatives underway in the SCoE and has loads of energy.”
Sterling said Cross did a superb job of commanding the SCoE and said his main task for Cross was to continue the Base Realignment and Closure initiatives.
“(Cross) has done exceedingly well,” Sterling said. “You’ve done a marvelous job – more than we could have ever asked for – and as you return back to your duties as commandant of the Quartermaster School … know that you take with you the enduring gratitude of all of us at TRADOC for the valuable and selfless service you have rendered.”
Cross will continue to serve as Quartermaster General. He also passed on his thanks to Sterling and Gen. Martin Demspey, TRADOC commanding general, for trusting his wife and him to lead the command during the transition.
“It is indeed an honor. I want to personally thank all of the fantastic leaders of Fort Lee, CASCOM and SCoE for your continuous, untiring support of this operation,” said Cross. “This morning, yes, I had to give up the incredible command; however, I am proud to say I cannot think of a more focused and efficient team to hand the reins to than Maj. Gen. Hodge and his wife, Michelle. They are well qualified to handle the rigors of this command.”
Sterling, who has served with Hodge before, once during a deployment, said Hodge is well qualified for his new duty.
“(With Hodge’s previous assignments,) what you have is a record of outstanding service and unparalleled experience that makes Maj. Gen. Jim Hodge uniquely qualified to be the Army’s senior training of logisticians, senior developer of logistics leaders and senior developer of new logistics capabilities for our Army,” he said. “It is with comfort and full confidence that the Army turns over its logistics school and SCoE to Maj. Gen. Jim Hodge.”
Sterling reminded Hodge of the importance of his new command, especially in light of the recent moves of the Transportation and Ordnance Schools to Fort Lee.
“You’ll be the first CASCOM and SCoE commander to start your tenure with the three logistics schools co-located here at Fort Lee,” Sterling said. “Your leadership will set the tone, establish the standard and pave the way for the future of Army logistics training, leader development and capability development. I can’t think of a better person to put his indelible stamp on the shape of the future of Army Logistics.”
Hodge, who started his career as a Transportation officer, thanked everyone for attending and recognized his family and friends who made the trip to see his assumption of command.
“I can’t tell you how honored and excited I am to be given the opportunity to command the Army’s Combined Arms Support Command,” he said. “I’d like to thank Jesse, the installation and the CASCOM staff for the great transition – I could not ask for more.”
Hodge made note of the changes happening to Fort Lee due to BRAC and said Fort Lee has a great reputation across the Army, and the changes will only help improve the reputation. He also let Fort Lee know he plans to build on the work of Chambers and Cross to continue to improve the installation.
“I simply want you to know that I think the Fort Lee, CASCOM and the Sustainment Center of Excellence have a great reputation around the Army and the Department of Defense,” he said. “As you drive around the installation, you can currently see that there are changes going on that are both important and impressive and they are taking place here every day. And those changes will serve to increase that great reputation and the quality of life and training that’s provided here.
“Every day I will work to make Fort Lee a better place to live and work because our warfighters, our Soldiers and their families deserve it.”