Col. Schröter assumes command of Tobyhanna
July 23, 2012
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter accepted the Tobyhanna Army Depot flag and the burden of command from U.S. Army Communication-Electronics Command (CECOM) commander, Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell July 12. He is the depot's 30th commander.
The ceremony, held in front of the headquarters building, was under a blue sky, a garrison flag and was augmented by music, a color guard, a civilian honor detachment, depot Soldiers, and witnessed by about 1,500 employees.
Former depot commander Col. Charles C. Gibson received the Legion of Merit for his outstanding performance as commander. Gibson's next assignment will be CECOM chief of staff.
Schröter, in his remarks, noted Tobyhanna's reputation for "superior electronics repair, support and assistance to our nation's Soldiers at the tip of the spear," adding he will, "continue to uphold and shape this reputation for the future."
Noting that he had been here more than 30 years ago on a skiing trip, Schröter added, "I could never have imagined being given this incredible opportunity and privilege to serve as the commander of Tobyhanna Army Depot. I look forward to being your commander as we navigate through the transition to the Army 2020."
Ferrell began his remarks by noting that the ceremony is a day of change "as the command sees one leader leave this critical position and another arrive to carry on."
"We also recognize that this is a time of great change for our Army," he said. "After 10 years of sustained combat, we look forward to shaping the characteristics and capability of our Army for 2020 and beyond."
Ferrell said that the command must identify how it will support and respond to the joint, interagency, inter-government and multinational force, and combatant commanders despite the changes, and in a time of budgetary constraints.
"I believe CECOM is well positioned," he said. "The work performed at Tobyhanna exemplifies our commitment to excellence by ensuring the readiness of our Army's critical C4ISR equipment."
He praised Gibson's leadership in this time of change, noting that he and his wife Michelle have been a great leadership team.
"But I will be the first to admit that Chuck had an advantage in the command opportunity. He had you, the work force of Tobyhanna. There is no finer work force in the defense industrial base than the men and women of this depot."
Ferrell went on to note that although Tobyhanna had to say goodbye to a leader who made a difference in the lives of the community youth, the work force and Soldiers, command has been passed to a "brilliant Soldier" whose reputation of professionalism and record of stellar service precedes him.
Gibson said that the ceremony is about the work force. "As I told you on 29 July 2009 when I took command, what our nation needs it cannot buy," he said. "It needs Soldiers and a civilian work force who consider service to their nation an affair of the heart. And that is precisely what the Soldiers and civilians on this field represent today.
"I have been humbled by the respect, gratitude and recognition bestowed personally upon me by the northeast Pennsylvania community," he added. "All of these have happened because of the opportunity I was given by the Army to command here at Tobyhanna Army Depot."
"I more fully appreciate what the former commanders told me about this being a great organization and how its work force is unmatched in its ability to take on a task, identify a solution and then efficiently implement that solution to the benefit of our men and women in uniform and to our nation."
He said that he and his family will leave "with the best of memories, a great sense of pride of having the privilege to lead a great organization and an outstanding team."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,400 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM.
Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.