By Bill Gattie, TACOM LCMC Public AffairsJuly 17, 2014
The TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) welcomed its 34th and first female commanding general, Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham, at a change of command ceremony held June 25 at the Detroit Arsenal. Over 600 people were on hand to witness the change of command, officiated by Gen. Dennis L. Via, Army Materiel Command (AMC) commanding general, between outgoing commander Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry and Bingham.
Bingham began her Army career by earning a Reserve Officers' Training Corp (ROTC) scholarship and graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in business management in 1981.
A native of Troy, Alabama and the daughter of a two-decade Army veteran, Bingham never intended to have a long career in the U.S. Army.
Bingham stated, "My intent was to do four years to pay the Army back for funding my education and get out of the Army to pursue a career in business." She said she was intrigued by the idea of going into business partially as a result of helping her father with his photography business.
But after six years, while she was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., something changed her plans.
"I felt like the kid in a candy store," she said. Her change of heart, an Army career came about because of the people she met, teamed with, and got to know.
She has traveled to 28 countries during her career and, at the same time, loved what she was doing and felt like she was making a difference. That is something she does not believe she would have been able to do as easily had it not been for the Army.
For example, while she was stationed at Fort Bragg, she was assigned temporary duty as part of a food warehousing operation in Honduras. She said she enjoyed working with a variety of people on that particular assignment, including members of the Coast Guard, Army personnel from various locations, and local nationals.
Bingham said those experiences provided by the Army have challenged her, built and broadened her, and given her confidence in areas that she never thought she could do.
While she recognizes the fact that she is the first woman to command the TACOM LCMC, as has been the case with several of her other assignments, she does not tend to focus very much on it. "I don't go into these jobs looking at it from the standpoint of trying to be the first," she said. "I really don't see myself any differently than my male counterparts; we're all sisters and brothers in arms."
Despite having served in many locations during her Army career, both in the U.S. and overseas, Bingham says she is very excited about coming to Michigan. This is despite the fact that some of her friends have said that she is going from the desert of New Mexico to the "frozen tundra of Michigan."
She says the people she has met since coming here, both on the job and in the community where she lives, have welcomed her and been very supportive.
Bingham says she intends to spend the first 30 days or so of her command assessing where we are at this point and then move on to establishing some specific goals. She mentioned three of her "pet peeves:" lack of professionalism, excessive use of profanity, and a "don't care" attitude. She says she believes very strongly in the importance of professionalism, being good at what we do, and caring.
In her closing remarks at the change of command ceremony, Bingham expressed her feelings about taking command of the TACOM LCMC. "To the Soldiers, civilians, and fellow teammates of the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in its entirety, I am honored and humbled to join your ranks and to be your commanding general."