FORT LEE, Va. – The Transportation Corps applauded the accomplishments, dedication and loyalty of two career staffers while hailing the work of several others during the TC Regimental Honors Ceremony Dec. 10 in Wylie Hall’s “Doc” Washburn Auditorium.
Retired Col. Richard L. Fields and civilian stalwart Caterina L. Studer were inducted into the TC Hall of Fame, and a long list of Soldiers and civilians earned accolades for their contributions to the corps during a livestreamed event that was limited in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Brig. Gen. James M. Smith, 31st Chief of Transportation, hosted the annual occasion. He was physically joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence T. Scarborough, TC CSM, and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jermain C. Williamson, TC CWO.
Smith, who assumed his duties in June, said those honored represent “no less than the finest examples” of commitment, resolve and hard work that has consistently marked the corps’ illustrious history.
“Those recognized today represent the absolute best of the best of the Transportation Corps,” he said at the lectern. “Their loyalty, dedication and accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the present and future of our corps.”
Fields, who retired in the 1990s, gave more than 30 years of service to the nation. During remarks, he expressed some measure of humility while also acknowledging he is “deeply honored” to receive such recognition.
“I retired 28 years ago, and to think there’s anybody who still remembers my 30 years of service is indeed surprising but quite gratifying,” he said.
Fields went on to convey his achievements were the result of a collective group of individuals.
“All of us who have worn the uniform or stepped into military service – and that includes civilians – (know) we never do anything alone; we’re always on a team, from the first time you stood in ranks to the last time you stood in a retirement parade.”
Fields concluded his remarks by thanking Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians “who shared time with me in my 30-year experience in the Transportation Corps. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Fellow hall of fame inductee, Studer, spent 36 years supporting the military and a sizable amount of that in the obscure mariner career field, which focuses on logistics operations at sea.
“I would like to thank the members of the corps for this unbelievable honor,” she said. “I was lucky enough to work amongst the amazing and professional men and women we call Soldier-mariners. Our success throughout this journey wouldn’t have been possible without transporters in key leadership positions who understood, believed in and supported the Army’s mission at sea.”
Earlier in the ceremony, the corps saluted the efforts of retired Colonels Paul L. Willis and Richard J. Flood. They were hailed as distinguished members of the regiment or “those who have served the corps in an outstanding manner,” according to the TC website.
Willis, who served 25 years culminating with Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Ky., said his time in the corps was precious and prosperous due to the support of others.
“I was very fortunate to enjoy a wonderful career in the Army Transportation Corps,” he said. “This recognition really means a lot to me and my family. I’m thankful for the encouragement and support I received from so many over the years.”
Willis said he is most grateful for his wife of 42 years, Dorthene, who encouraged him to serve beyond his initial three-year obligation. His former battalion commander, retired Col. Kenny Black, received a nod for nominating him for the honor.
Flood did not appear in the broadcast.
All of honorees reside in or are assigned to locations outside of Fort Lee. William R. Stanley Jr., named honorary member of the regiment, was the exception. A former deputy to the COT, Stanley is now deputy to the Army Logistics University president. In his acceptance speech, he thanked Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Drushal, a former COT, for “taking a chance in bringing me down to work at the regiment,” and Brig. Gen. Jered P. Helwig, the 30th COT and Smith for their guidance and support. He also mentioned retired Maj. Gen. David Whaley, another former COT, for “providing me with a history of the corps and helping me better integrate ...”
Also among the regimental honorees are: Capt. Wade Cady, officer of the year; Capt. Yan Lok Tong, officer of the year, reserve component; CW2 Herbert D. Carter III, warrant officer of the year; CW3 Gerard Hummel, warrant officer of the year, reserve component; Staff Sgt. Bobby McDougle Jr., NCO of the year; Sgt. Nicholas G. Baker, NCO of the year, reserve component; Spc. Zachary R. Teachey, Soldier of the year; Spc. Kimble C. Hendrickson, Soldier of the year, reserve component; and Rhonda Pitt, civilian of the year.
Acknowledging the impact they had on the corps, Smith said the recipients are more than worthy.
“As current and soon-to-be legends,” he said, “you all were instrumental in shaping our corps, creating a vision for the future, and developing programs to ensure personnel, material and equipment arrived at the right place at the right time during peace and conflict.”
Smith also acknowledged the service of outgoing honorary team members retired Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, honorary colonel of the regiment; retired CW4 Patrick Deck, honorary warrant officer of the regiment; and retired CSM John Kreseley, honorary sergeant major of the regiment.
Respectively, they were replaced by retired Maj. Gen. Charles W. Fletcher; retired CW5 Michael J. Wichterman; and retired CSM Cedric J. Thomas.
For more information about the regimental honors program and the Transportation Corps, visit www.transportation.army.mil.