"Gray Beards" reaffirm First Army's legacy
April 24, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, First Army commanding general, welcomed back to First Army headquarters, two retired generals who helped shape First Army's legacy.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Inge, commanding general, First Army from 2001-2004, and Maj. Gen. J.B. Burns, deputy commanding general, Forces Command, from 1999-2004, toured First Army Headquarters and received a command briefing, conducted an office call with Tucker, and met with current First Army employees.
The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the former commanders and senior leaders on First Army's current mission set and reserve component training support operations.
Tucker said the former commanders voiced their continued support of First Army's core mission: training reserve component forces in support of Army requirements.
"During the former commanders' visit, we presented these leaders with an updated brief on First Army's mission and our vision for the future," he said. "These great leaders understand that mission and doctrine sometimes change with the passage of time. However, our core mission is essential to maintaining the reserve component as an operational reserve, and will remain regardless of our Army operating in a peacetime or wartime environment."
Inge encouraged First Army Soldiers and civilians to tell the First Army story as a way of helping the unit maintain its relevance.
"I would tell you as members of this staff, tell your story every chance you get," Inge said.
During a mission briefing, Burns noted the command's refocus on increasing its capability to advise, assist and train reserve component forces during pre-mobilization training support.
According to First Army officials, the visiting generals are credited with establishing First Army's current structure and support for Army National Guard and Army Reserve pre-mobilization training prior to the major deployment operations that began in 2003. Inge and Burns were instrumental in transitioning First Army to full-scale mobilization operations that at its peak, trained and deployed more than 90,000 reserve component Soldiers annually.
"As we transition from full scale mobilization operations back to primarily pre-mobilization training, we know their experiences with previous pre-mobilization training will be invaluable to improve on the previous model and not repeat mistakes from the past," said Tommy Thompson, First Army deputy chief of staff.
Tucker noted the visiting former generals enjoyed their visit to First Army Headquarters and the Rock Island Arsenal.
"My predecessors toured the area and found the Rock Island Arsenal community very enjoyable and the experience satisfying. These proud men previously served First Army while the headquarters was located in Atlanta, Ga.," he said.
"The dynamics between Fort Gillem in Atlanta and the Arsenal offered an interesting contrast and change from their previous experiences. They felt that the Rock Island Arsenal and our Quad City neighbors have embraced First Army."
First Army mobilizes, trains, deploys and demobilizes all Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve forces throughout the continental United States, providing trained and ready forces for diverse missions worldwide. For more information, visit our Web site at www.first.army.mil and join us on Facebook (Official) http://www.facebook.com/FirstArmy.