By Mrs. Brigitte Rox (AMC)July 18, 2013
The Corpus Christi Army Depot welcomed Colonel Billingsley Garner Pogue III as he took command of one of the Department of Defense's largest helicopter and component maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities, July 15.
Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) hosted the assumption of command ceremony in one of CCAD's hangars with AMCOM Commanding Major General (MG) Lynn A. Collyar presiding.
CCAD's last commander, COL Christopher B. Carlile was set to transfer command to COL Pogue in July but was spirited away to work directly for Army Materiel Command (AMC) before his official end of duty date. Mr. William (Bill) Braddy, CCAD's Deputy Commander for Production Operations, served as Executive Director in the interim.
"I will tell you that Garner is ready for the command," the AMCOM commander said. "We have had a succession of superior commanders in this depot and Garner is going to fit perfectly in that. He has all the right experiences, he has all the right knowledge, he has all the right background. We are getting a great leader…and he'll be the right person to take this depot on to the next level over the next couple of years."
"I've grown up knowing about CCAD," said COL Pogue who seemed ready and eager to assume command. "I've grown up knowing about the depots as a maintenance officer and as a platoon leader, even when I was a second lieutenant."
"I was out on the flight line opening up cans of components and parts that we were putting on aircraft. You open up a can and see that CCAD sticker on that item."
"I've also come through the Army in my services as a maintenance officer and a maintenance commander."
"I've always had a great appreciation for the high quality of components and helicopters and anything that this organization touches," COL Pogue added. "It goes out to the field to our pilots and to our aviation soldiers who are doing maintenance on our aircraft and keeping our aircraft in the fight. I've just always had a tremendous appreciation for this great capacity."
"The fact that I was chosen to come out here and serve with you is just an honor. I'm really looking forward to learning more about the organization," he said."
Leading In a Period of Transition
COL Pogue's first day as CCAD Commander coincided with the first day back from DoD's first furlough day.
"People have been telling me, almost apologizing to me that I'm taking command the day after the first day of furlough," COL Pogue said. "Don't apologize about that. I'm proud to be here. I'm not getting paid just to lead during the easy times. I'm getting paid to help lead through these difficult times as well."
"MG Collyar and his staff are doing hard work to plan to get us through this very difficult period of time…as we come out of a period of combat," said the commander.
"COL Pogue is probably going to have the most difficult two years of command tour here of any of the depot commanders of the last few years," MG Collyar admitted.
CCAD, along with DoD, is in a period of transition but COL Pogue believes that this change is good news for America.
"It's not a bad thing that we're going to spend less money on military operations," he said. "It's a great thing that we have been successful in military operations in the past ten years. It's a great thing that our military has been able to provide the level of national security that we have and that we've been able to help those in other places get a taste of freedom."
"It's good news to enter a time of peace. It's good news to our taxpayers to not carry such a heavy burden. And it's going to cause us to focus in on being better, more careful managers of our national treasure."
A Resilient Workforce with a Critical Mission
As he addressed his audience of CCADers, partners, and legislators at the assumption of command ceremony, MG Collyar asserted that CCAD's future was secure. "The mission the Corpus Christi Army Depot has is too significant to not be executed effectively. It is too important for the Army."
"It's going to be tough," COL Pogue said of leading a depot during sequestration. "It's going to be hard…but we have to get through it. I know that I'm with the organization that can get through it because this is a resilient workforce."
"As I walk around, I don't see people looking at their toes and kicking the dust," he said of his new workforce. "I see people getting after their jobs. I see people getting after aircraft maintenance -- getting after what they do here."
"This place is filled with the most dedicated artisans, mechanics, and support people -- from every aspect of this organization, whether it's administrative or maintenance of our buildings, moving supply and parts, our warehouse people. This all comes together in such a tremendous organization to really support our warfighter and our aviation fleet," said COL Pogue.
"We still have a critical mission. All the aircraft are going to be coming back from theater. We're still going to have a significant demand to continue to fly those aircraft. We're not getting rid of aircraft so they are going to have to be maintained. We're still going to have to provide component repair. We're still going to have to provide all the functions of our mission to those units. We're just going to have to figure out how we're going to get through this period of sequestration and maintain good morale."
"We will work everything we can to make sure everyone's job is as secure as it can be and that we have the capability to do the work to support the Army," the new commander said.