170 years of experience: Former commanders discuss future force
February 7, 2012
FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- With a combined military history of more than 170 years experience in one room, former commanders of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command met with current TRADOC leaders during this year's Former TRADOC Commanders Conference at Fort Eustis, Va., Feb. 2.
With more than 13 years of commanding TRADOC among them, four former commanders gathered in the Morelli Auditorium to listen to presentations from TRADOC senior leaders on issues affecting the command as well as to provide insight based on lessons learned from their experiences.
"It's invaluable to sit down with predecessors and share experiences from the past and compare them to what we're doing today," said Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of TRADOC. "These are the legends of Training and Doctrine Command -- General Wallace, General Hartzog, General Richardson and General Byrnes have all been mentors I've known growing up."
Cone explained that not only is it helpful to gain insight on how former commanders handled challenges based on their military experience, but also the insight they can provide based on their involvement in industry or academia.
After a receiving a tour of DePuy Hall, the former commanders listened to briefings and discussed the transitions and challenges TRADOC faces in shaping the Army of 2020, as well as the importance of developing the Army's leaders and defining the Army profession. Attendees also received an overview on Doctrine 2015 and how and why the squad will be the foundations of the decisive force.
Throughout the conference, each commander raised a number of different questions and each brought a unique perspective to the discussion, ranging from the TRADOC of 29 years ago to the TRADOC of four years ago; however, they all agreed that TRADOC is, in fact, working hard to shape the future force.
"(The conference) just reaffirmed how busy TRADOC is," said retired Gen. William S. Wallace, TRADOC commanding general from 2005 to 2008. "People would be awestruck by everything we saw today."
Retired Gen. William W. Hartzog, TRADOC commanding general from 1994 to 1998, also expressed his appreciation and admiration for the command.
"We're really privileged that you allowed us to come here and do this," Hartzog said. "You are surrounded by some very, very talented people, and you have a great group here."
At the close of the conference, Cone thanked the commanders, asking that they stay in touch.
"If you see things that will help us, or you have comments, or you just want to know how we're doing, you're always welcome."