FORT LEE, Va. (June 2, 2016) -- The 71st Transportation Battalion welcomed a new leadership team during a joint change of command and change of responsibility ceremony May 26 on the Army Logistics University Quad.
The event marked the first traditional military ceremony – with an inspection of troops and pass in review – ALU has held outdoors since its inception. Lt. Col. Matthew Anastasi and Command Sgt. Maj. Leabarron Bates replaced Lt. Col. Robert Mann Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Ruth Potter, respectively. Col. Thomas Rogers, Army Logistics University commandant, oversaw the ceremony.
The 71st Trans Bn. is responsible for the staff, faculty and students who work and learn at ALU.
Mann’s dedication and motivation was instrumental to ALU success the last few years, Rogers said.
“Bob’s energy and attitude are infectious, and his care and concern for Soldiers is unmatched,” he said.
Mann and his wife, Lt. Col. Renee Mann, have both been selected for the rank of colonel and brigade command positions in Korea, which they will assume in 2017.
“Bob, this is a bittersweet day and words cannot cover all you have accomplished during your tenure,” Rogers said. “Your ability to take the ALU epistemological puzzle and develop programs to support is exceptional. The programs you have put into place are top notch and will be an enduring legacy for the 71st.”
Mann described his time at ALU as “an incredible journey” filled with many great memories.
“I’ve loved almost every minute of this for the last two years,” he said. “To the company commanders, you know some of the challenges we have had that haven’t been fun, but they were rewarding challenges … more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. The battalion’s accomplishments are due to the hard work and dedication of everyone in the unit and everyone who supports the unit.”
Rogers also bid farewell to Potter and said while laughing, “Yes, sergeant major, you have to go.”
“Everyone will miss our ALU greeter and our biggest advocate,” he continued. “Every day, SGM Potter is the first face you see at the entrance of ALU. She puts 100 percent effort into everything she does. Her care and compassion for every Soldier – not only the ALU students, but every Soldier, to include our international students as well – (is apparent).”
Potter – who is set to retire soon – thanked everyone for their support of the unit, especially to the ALU team.
“I can’t thank you enough for the support, day in and day out,” she said. “Thank you so very much for everything you’ve done for the 71st team, my battalion and I, and my Soldiers.”
During the ceremony, Rogers said he is looking forward to seeing the efforts of the new command team.
“As always, the Army is full of qualified and deserving leaders ready to assume the next level of responsibility,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have Lt. Col. Matt Anastasi and his wife Kathleen, and Sgt. Maj. Bates and his wife Stephanie, join the ALU family as the new 71st Transportation Battalion command team.“
Mann also welcomed the new team and said they would be a great addition to the battalion.
“I can tell you’ll be a good command team, and I’m confident you’ll continue the tradition of being the best battalion on Fort Lee,” he said. “I’m so excited for you and your families on this special day and look forward to hearing more from you in the future.”
Anastasi thanked the outgoing leaders for the smooth transition, and said he was grateful for the chance to serve as a battalion commander.
“It’s truly an honor to have this opportunity to command an organization responsible for shaping the Army’s future sustainment leaders,” said Anastasi.
In keeping with the tradition of brief speeches from incoming leaders, Bates quickly thanked his family, friends and fellow Soldiers for attending. He also recognized Mann and Potter for their leadership.
“I want to thank Lt. Col. Mann and CSM Potter for their warm reception and the smooth transition,” he said. “The Soldiers and the students on the field today are a true testament to your leadership.”