By Tonya Townsell, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsJuly 12, 2013
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The United States Army Garrison, Presidio of Monterey conducted a change-of-command ceremony on Soldier Field July 10.
Col. Joel J. Clark, garrison commander since July 2011, passed the colors to his replacement, Col. Paul W. Fellinger Jr.
Army Senior Executive Thomas J. Schoenbeck served as the reviewing officer for the change of command. Schoenbeck is director of the Central Region Installation Management Command, in San Antonio, Texas. This was his first trip to Monterey in his this capacity.
During the ceremony, Schoenbeck shared a long list of highlights from Clark's tenure at the Presidio. A few examples are that under Clark, the dining facility was one of the top seven (Civilian Garrison Category) in the Army in the Phillip A. Connelly competition; he maintained 17 of 20 barracks at an installation status level green and was applauded by the IMCOM commanding general for management and maintenance of the barracks programs; the Child and Youth School Services programs were remarkable, receiving admiring comments from all CYSS inspections over the last six months and continued to receive praise from service members in reference to outstanding services provided in the CYSS arena; he received an outstanding rating from the Joint Staff Integrated Vulnerability Assessment team for his Force Protection Program; he continued progression of the first Master Plan in 25 years, working to mitigate numerous significant comments from the public and building a workable plan for the future.
Additionally, Clark planned and coordinated the largest multi-jurisdictional exercise on the Monterey Peninsula involving seven separate cities, U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Support Activity Monterey, and the California State University.
Also, when the Department of Defense tasked the Department of Army to inspect its cemeteries, Clark was told that he had "the best looking cemetery of all we have inspected" by the DOD Cemetery Team, as well as by the Director of Army Cemeteries during her inspection and visit.
Further, under Clark's tenure, the Presidio of Monterey's Mass Transit Program became the largest in the United States with 30,000 riders per month, exceeding communities more than 10 times Monterey's size.
Schoenbeck described out-going commander Clark as always dynamic, adapting and versatile.
Schoenbeck said that Clark continually brought tremendous enthusiasm, innovation and professional leadership to every task and "proved conclusively his ability to successfully lead civilian and military of all ranks in a politically charged, resource constrained environment."
When Clark arrived at the Presidio in July 2011, it was to a new job. However, a couple things he had in his favor were that he had been a garrison commander before (Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.) and attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (Spanish).
When Clark spoke at the July 10 ceremony, he didn't speak about himself, but instead about the garrison staff.
For example, Clark said that when he was at the podium two years ago accepting responsibility for the Presidio, the garrison was facing a multitude of cuts, including 50 positions, which represented 15 percent of the already small staff.
He explained that those were not just 50 bodies, but they were 50 people.
Clark saw the personal face of each of those cuts. He said that they were 50 mothers or fathers, breadwinners of families, people who in many cases dedicated many decades into this organization.
Through hard effort, the garrison was able to reduce the staff through attrition and finding other jobs for those people, he said.
Those were not the end of the cuts. Clark said it was because of support of the garrison staff implemented cuts these past two years while not only maintaining quality, but by accepting more responsibility during a time when the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center was training more people than ever.
At the end of his speech, Clark reiterated wisdom from his father he said he hears on nearly a weekly basis: It's called "service" for a reason.
In his advice to the incoming commander, Clark, whose next assignment is in Hawaii, at Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific, told Fellinger to truly appreciate and enjoy his time in Monterey, explaining that that time passes too quickly.
In response to Clark's advice, Fellinger, whose most recent assignment was at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., said he appreciated his new responsibility and challenge and was looking forward to working with his new garrison staff and surrounding communities.