First SCoE commander leaves legacy
June 17, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (June 17) -- Under a bright, blue Virginia sky, Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers passed the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command colors to Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross Friday at Williams Stadium.
Despite the sweltering heat, community members packed the tents to watch as Chambers left his position as the first Sustainment Center of Excellence commanding general.
Lt. Gen. John E. Sterling, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command deputy commanding general and chief of staff, hosted the ceremonies that included honors, inspection of the troops and a pass in review.
Sterling spoke highly of the work Chambers had accomplished at Fort Lee over the two years he commanded.
"The changes that Fort Lee and the SCoE have undergone under Jim Chambers\' leadership are both game changing and enduring," he said.
Sterling said Chambers had a remarkable and lasting impact on the Army's Logistics schoolhouse and it was all for the good.
"Most easy to comment on are the enormous physical changes here at Fort Lee ... and all of it done under the skilled oversight of Jim Chambers who has kept an enormous and complicated BRAC process on a steady and timely path," he said.
Sterling told the crowd gathered that Chambers has created a powerful force for the Army sustainment organization that will yield benefits for years to come.
The TRADOC chief of staff touched on the growing pains the installation may have felt during the transition from the home of the Quartermaster Corps to the home of sustainment including joint schools with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
"Anytime you have big organizational changes like these you're going to have resistance," Sterling said. "Change is hard. So you've got to educate your own force on the reasons for the change, the doctrine for the future employment and the goodness of the whole undertaking.
"In this area, Jim Chambers has truly excelled," he said. "We at TRADOC simply cannot overstate the importance and the enormity of the work Jim Chambers has done to make the logistics arms the key contributors to the current war fight they must be."
Sterling spoke about the dedication Chambers has for taking care of the community as a whole, including Families and Department of the Army Civilians.
"He leaves here at Fort Lee a legacy of taking care of our Soldiers, our Civilians and our Families that is unsurpassed," he said. "His efforts in Soldier and Family wellness are almost legendary here at Fort Lee and span the full spectrum of activities that lead to comprehensive fitness for the entire SCoE family. Jim Chambers has truly been a force for the good in taking care of people."
Taking the podium, Chambers immediately took care of the Soldiers standing on the field under a blistering sun. He commanded them to take a deep knee bend, stretch their arms and remove their headgear for a moment.
Chambers thanked the community members for coming out.
"I was told that when I came here from Fort Eustis that I'd never be at another installation where the community relations are as good as they are between the communities in and around Fort Lee," he said. "I didn't believe it ... but I can attest and testify as a witness that this is the single best relationship in the U.S. Army today between installation and the communities that surround it."
He thanked Command Sgt. Major C.C. Jenkins for being the best command sergeant major he'd ever had. Jenkins presented Chambers with his rank, pinning the chevrons, rockers, star and wreath on the general's collar. "I am going to a place where I don't get a command sergeant major so I am taking him with me the best way I can," he said.
Chambers thanked members of his staff for their service including Fort Lee's only Senior Executive Service member, William Moore, CASCOM and SCoE deputy to the commanding general.
"I appreciate all that Bill has done and I enjoyed having him at my left side," he said.
Citing a recent project Moore completed, Chambers said the deputy has taken on some of CASCOM's toughest challenges and seen them through to duration.
Moore took a step back in history and brought an idea forward, Chambers said.
"Using one of our core competencies - managing and running trains - Moore arranged to transport Soldiers via train to their training sites," he said.
Chambers likened Cross filling the gap between commanders as the football play, pulling guard.
"It's sort of a good analogy here," he said. "There is a gap and it needs to be filled. I cannot think of anyone better than Jesse and Cheryl Cross, they are truly friends of Fort Lee, nobody knows Fort Lee better, nobody knows the Fort Lee community better. I fully trust he will do it and do it well."
Sterling also said that all of TRADOC have great confidence that Cross will build on the great success that Chambers and his spouse have created here at Fort Lee and that he will take the SCoE to its destiny of continued improvement. Sterling drew chuckles from the crowd when he cautioned Cross to not get too comfortable in command and wished him and his wife the best of luck.
Chambers begins the next chapter of his career as the director of logistics at the U.S. Army Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
Cross kept his comments brief, thanking the spectators, the band, the color guard and the Soldiers on the parade field.
"Cheryl and I look forward to the challenges ahead," he said. "It is an exciting opportunity because we are friends to Fort Lee and we have friends at Fort Lee; we are the CASCOM, SCoE team ... support starts here."
Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge will arrive from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., later this year to assume command of CASCOM, SCoE.