People enhanced career for retiring commander
September 15, 2011
Two years ago, Brig. Gen. Chris Tucker took command of one of the newest tenants at Redstone Arsenal.
The Security Assistance Command headquarters had moved here from Fort Belvoir, Va., as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decisions. USASAC was on the move; and most of its workers had already arrived from Fort Belvoir. So, officials decided to do the change of command ceremony Sept. 11, 2009 at Bob Jones Auditorium rather than at Fort Belvoir.
And now Tucker is preparing to relinquish command Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. in front of the new Army Materiel Command/USASAC complex. His successor will be Maj. Gen. Frank D. "Del" Turner, program manager for the Saudi Arabia National Guard Modernization Program. Ironically, Turner was Tucker's successor in Saudi Arabia in 2009 when Tucker came here.
Tucker, 54, is retiring from the Army.
"It's going to be very sad to leave the Army after 32 years because I've enjoyed every assignment," he said. "The opportunity to work with Soldiers and civilians who volunteered to serve their country has been an absolutely tremendous experience. And so it's hard to leave something that you've enjoyed so much.
"For my entire career the most important thing has been the people. The Soldiers, NCOs, officers and civilians at every assignment were extremely enjoyable to work with. And I've learned something from a co-worker or subordinate or superior in every assignment. The other thing that makes leaving the Army hard is we are still an Army at war and I enjoy making a contribution to the Army every day. And I have friends and associates in Iraq and Afghanistan right now and it's going to be hard to leave the service when those folks are still downrange."
He's looking at future employment but has not made any decisions yet. He looks forward to spending more time with his family which includes his wife, Mary Ann, their son Matthew, 25, of Orlando, Fla., and their daughter Jacqueline, 22, of Austin, Texas.
"My time at USASAC has been extremely rewarding," Tucker said. "We have an absolutely superb, very dedicated work force who are committed every day to advancing U.S. strategic partnerships. And they have made it a joy to come to work every day.
"The other thing that I've enjoyed about this job is the opportunity to represent the Army and AMC to so many of our international partners. And the third thing that I've enjoyed is the success of our support to the war fight commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan."
In managing foreign military sales, USASAC represents the Army and the Army Materiel Command to 155 nations around the world.
"The last thing that I've enjoyed about USASAC is the teamwork inside AMC," Tucker said. "We've been very blessed to have great partners among the other commands within AMC assisting in the foreign military sales program."
USASAC worldwide has 855 people, including 584 civilians, 199 military and 72 contractor employees. Stateside this includes the Redstone headquarters, New Cumberland, Pa., Fort Belvoir, and the Security Assistance Training Management Organization for a total of 586. The Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabia National Guard has 269.
"The thing that I am most proud of is the success of the USASAC work force under demanding conditions," Tucker said. "In the last two years, the USASAC work force and the Army security assistance enterprise have improved the FMS process, increased support to the commanders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and completed the BRAC relocation -- all of that done extremely well and all of it done simultaneously. The team here along with our AMC LCMC (life cycle management commands) partners have done a superb job in improving the Army's FMS program for our international customers. I am very, very fortunate to have been the commander of USASAC during the past two years."
Tucker's military career continued a family tradition of service which began in 1935 when his father, Reuben, graduated from West Point. "Someone in my immediate family has been in the Army continuously from 1935-2011 or the past 76 years," Tucker said.
His father served in World War II and Korea. His brothers Bruce and Jeff served during Vietnam. His brothers Scott and Glenn served during the Cold War, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tucker has served since 1979.
Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, the Army's program executive officer for aviation, is a longtime friend. They've known each other since 1967 when they met at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Crosby's father was the assistant commandant of cadets and Tucker's father was the commandant of cadets.
"General Crosby and I went to high school together, went to college together (at The Citadel) and we had our first assignments together at Fort Stewart, Ga., in 1979," Tucker said.
Tucker's father retired from the military in 1963 in Charleston, so that's where Tucker grew up. Away from work, Tucker enjoys playing golf, running and spending time with his family.
"Thirty-two years in the Army has been very rewarding because of the people," he said. "The senior leaders of the Army, the NCOs, the Soldiers and civilians have made every day a great day to be a Soldier. And the support of my family and friends kept me motivated for my entire career."