Transportation School holds its first-ever graduation at Fort Lee
December 8, 2010
- The Transporation School at Fort Lee graduated its first class
- The Transporation Corps and School relocated to Fort Lee from Fort Eustis this summer
- Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005 mandated the move to Fort Lee
FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 8, 2010) -- Pvt. Shameli Ali and Spc. David Moore, clad in their Class A uniforms, were sharp in appearance and deliberate in their actions.
They walked to the stage after their names and achievements were announced over the speaker system; received their diplomas; shook hands with the presenters; and smartly returned to their seats, showing little emotion.
What the two Soldiers may have been oblivious to is the fact they were principal players in the most significant Transportation Corps event since it officially arrived here from Fort Eustis this summer.
The two - distinguished honor graduates in Class 001 and 002, respectively - are the first Soldiers to earn diplomas for a Transportation School military occupational specialty course taught at Fort Lee. They were lauded during a graduation ceremony at the Transportation School auditorium Dec.1.
"It was history in the making," said Sgt. Maj. Joe R. Clarida Jr., the school's sergeant major. "That's what happened here today. It's like what they do when they're about to build a new building. They were the first two of the very first class that broke ground here."
For Staff Sgt. Nicolas Parries, one of the class instructors, the ceremony represented not only the effort related to training the students but all the groundwork required to stand up the course.
"'Sweet' does not begin to describe the feeling of watching the first classes graduate," he said. "There's a feeling of pride that sweeps over you, knowing that the months of preparation and effort you put in have led you to a successful ending."
The class was comprised of 52 Soldiers enrolled in the 88N course - transportation management coordinator. Soldiers enrolled in the six-week course began class in October. Currently, the 88N course is the only transportation course taught at Fort Lee.
During the graduation ceremony, the crowd was sparse but included a number of spouses, parents and other family members who travelled to Fort Lee from different parts of the country. Kenneth Miles, course manager, was one of those in the crowd who held the event in high regard.
"Being an old 88N from private all the way up, the event was twofold for me," he said. "You become so accustomed to something being in one location for such a long time. I've got more than 40 years military and civilian time invested in this career field, and I've always seen these graduations at Fort Eustis, so to see it at Fort Lee and to be a part of it at Fort Lee is a good thing but also bittersweet."
The Transportation School is one of three schools that fall under the Army's Logistics Corps and one of two that relocated to Fort Lee under the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005. It moved here from Fort Eustis after more than 60 years there.
The first school's first graduation ceremony, although celebratory, was also representative of a long and sometimes difficult transition for those who participated in the move to Fort Lee, said Miles.
"There's a lot of coordination that people don't see," said Miles. "You're in a new building, in new classrooms and you have the get the scheduling right. Furthermore, we've had to learn how business is conducted here at Fort Lee."
Despite everything that has happened, the Transportation School's new era of training began on a positive note.
"I think things went well," said Clarida.