Nov. 17, 2011 - CSA Remarks at the IMCOM Change of Command
December 9, 2011
General Raymond T. Odierno
IMCOM Change of Command Remarks (As Written)
It is a pleasure to be here at Fort Sam Houston … a beautiful post … home to so many of our great leaders and Soldiers -- past and present.
Thank you all for joining us today. It is a tremendous honor for me to host this ceremony for one of our Army's finest organizations and leadership teams.
A special welcome to our distinguished guests:
• Honorable Katherine Hammack
• GEN (R) Leon Laporte
• SMA Raymond Chandler III
• Honorable Lamar Smith
• Honorable Jeff Wentworth
• Ms. Dianne Delisi
• Mrs. Jean Shine
• Mr. Richard Kleberg
I'd also like to recognize the Families…
• CPT Dan Ferriter
• CPT Paddy Ferriter
• 1LT Mary Whitney Whitaker
• Dr. Meghan Ferriter
• Marget's parents: MG (ret) & Mrs. John Hemphill
The troopers standing before us look great -- a testament to the high standards and strong leadership of our NCO Corps. To the 323rd Army Band, the Color Guard, the Salute Battery, and all the Soldiers on the field: thank you for your service and job well done. Please join me in a round of applause for these magnificent Warriors.
I want to personally recognize CSM Neil Ciotola. He is a Soldier's soldier, a combat leader, and the epitome of a CSM. A trusted advisor who is mentally and physically tough, he has demonstrated incredible courage under fire. Thank you for your unyielding dedication, selfless service, and sacrifice.
Rick Lynch has selflessly served our Army with extraordinary distinction for nearly 35 years and has devoted his career to taking care of Soldiers and their Families. I have watched Rick always step forward to take on the toughest assignments, both as a commander and as a senior staff officer.
As the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Multi-national Division Center during the surge, Rick had responsibility for the southern Baghdad belts including the infamous "Triangle of Death."
As chronicled in the book, "Surging South of Baghdad," Rick applied relentless pressure on both AQI and Shia extremist networks eliminating safe havens and sanctuaries, which was critical to protecting the population and buying time and space for the Iraqi people to move forward with local governance and economic development.
As the commander of III Corps & Fort Hood, he reinvigorated and implemented many initiatives for Soldiers and Army Families such as the Resiliency Campus, school partnerships, TAPS and Survivor Outreach Services. He did so well at our largest Army post that we wanted to share it across the Army.
He was the perfect person to lead IMCOM and transform it into a world class organization focused on providing the best possible service to Soldiers and Families while reducing overhead.
IMCOM is the Army's single largest agency managing over 184 Army installations globally with a staff of 120,000 personnel. We are grateful for the dedicated Army civilians and contractors that make IMCOM such a large success. Over the past few years, IMCOM has expertly consolidated base support operations, standardized installation policies, and optimized Soldier and Family support activities while we remained at war.
IMCOM also plays a critical role in preparing and deploying our forces, as well as supporting them in remote locations. In short, the IMCOM team has been, and will remain, a key ingredient in our ability to project and sustain combat forces globally. I thank each and every member of IMCOM for your untiring efforts and commitment to Soldiers and Families.
Rick, your leadership at the helm of IMCOM, as well as your entire Army career, has been simply outstanding. You embodied words like courage, competence, candor, and compassion. Your immense passion to serve and care for the Army Family -- especially our Gold Star Families -- has ensured the trust that is the bedrock of our honored profession.
You are known for praising our Soldiers by stating that when they had the "choice to read about history or make history," they courageously chose the latter. Well Rick, today I am going to use that remark about you. You made history and did it extremely well. Thank you for your steadfast dedication and loyal service.
As accomplished as Rick is, it's important for us to remember that he has another vital partner in his efforts. Sarah has been serving alongside Rick every step of the way.
She's dedicated herself to our Soldiers and Families, whether it be leading FRGs or working with the Families of Fallen Soldiers. Sarah has met and listened to Gold Star Families to assess how the Army was meeting their needs and help the Army improve its services. Also, as a former educator, she has devoted herself to ensuring that Army Families had all the resources needed to provide the highest quality education to our Army children.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that Sarah has selflessly given of herself to the Army Family and our Nation. You are a true American patriot and hero. Linda and I thank you for your service and we wish you the best as you settle back home in Central Texas.
While we say goodbye to Rick and Sarah Lynch, we welcome LTG Mike Ferriter and his wife Margie. I want to welcome Mike home from his most recent tour in Iraq. Mike is an accomplished leader who has excelled at every level, been deployed multiple times, and has led a major installation. He understands Soldiers and Families, and is the right leader at this important time of transition.
As we face an uncertain global environment and constrained resources, IMCOM will be asked to increase effectiveness and efficiencies while providing quality services and support to our Soldiers and Families. I am confident that Mike Ferriter is the right man for the job -- a proven leader with the right experience to lead us into the future.
Margie, thank you for your service to our Nation. We are thankful for your continued sacrifices and support. The Ferriters are a great Army Family, and IMCOM is fortunate to have them.
The strength as our Nation's force of decisive action -- ready today and prepared for tomorrow. Our Army will continue to be the best equipped, best trained, and best led force in the world. Our strength rests on a solid foundation of Soldiers -- a foundation built by a combat-tested force that has fought with courage, conviction and a sense of purpose.
As we move forward, IMCOM will continue to play a vital role in ensuring our Army's readiness and sustaining the All-Volunteer Force as we simultaneously prepare for the future. This includes ensuring world class facilities, effective programs to sustain resilient Soldiers and Families, and efficient energy and environmental stewardship. We also have great opportunity to better leverage the multitude of non-federal entities that graciously offer their services to our Soldiers, Families, and veterans -- a potentially significant force multiplier that IMCOM is already working and something that I feel strongly about.
The Soldiers, Civilians, and Contractors of IMCOM know their value and purpose -- to provide our Soldiers and Families the best possible support commensurate with the sacrifices they have made on behalf of the Nation.
The strength of our Nation is our Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our Families. IMCOM allows us to be Army Strong!
Thank you and God Bless America!