FORT KNOX, Ky. - Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Sharpsten assumed command of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command during a change of command ceremony, July 10, at the 3rd ESC Headquarters.
The change of command is signified by the passing of the unit colors between commanders. The 3rd ESC's colors represent the unit's rich history and heritage as well as a visual symbol of the commander's authority.
Before taking command of the 3rd ESC, Sharpsten worked as the director for logistics operations and readiness, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 in Washington, D.C.
Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith, deputy commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was the guest speaker for the ceremony and described to the audience what the change of command represented.
"A unit change of command is about the organizational strength to transcend any individual leader," said Smith. "This change of command is not about Brig. Gen. Walker or Brig. Gen. Sharpsten, it's a symbolic representation of change; a change all units go through in our military as part of our culture."
Smith transferred the colors from Brig. Gen. (Promotable) Donnie Walker Jr., who led the ESC for the past two years, including a deployment in 2014 to Afghanistan. Smith congratulated Walker and said he should be proud of his service.
"Donnie, you've done a magnificent job and you should be proud of what this organization has achieved under your watch," said Smith. "This command reduced the strategic footprint in Afghanistan, moved large quantities of people, supplies and equipment across the theater, and set the stages for (Operation) Resolute Support."
After Smith's speech, Walker addressed his former unit, saying it was an honor to serve with them.
"As I look across the formation I feel a tremendous amount of pride as I see the Sustainers, and don't let the small numbers fool you, because this is what modularity is all about," said Walker. "To all the officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians that have served in these ranks during my 2 years of command; I am honored to have been your commanding general, you always exceeded my highest expectations and got after it day in and day out. God bless you all."
Walker also welcomed Sharpsten to the 3rd ESC team.
"Hope and I welcome the Sharpstens to Fort Knox," said Walker. "I can think of no other general officer that I would rather pass the colors to than Chris Sharpsten. He is a former sustainment brigade commander and there is no doubt in my mind that the expeditionary mindset will remain in the mighty 3rd ESC, and that he will take them to the next level. Welcome to the 'sustain the line' team."
Sharpsten said his objectives during his command are to build a culture of leadership that develops innovative, informed, and decisive leaders, to deliver sustainment effects to enable the XVIIIth Airborne Corps, and to provide expert care and leadership of the Army's most precious commodity, the Soldiers.
During his speech, Sharpsten thanked Walker for his diligence and dedication and said he was going to continue to build on the legacy left by Walker.
"The 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command has a deserved reputation of sustainment expertise and readiness," said Sharpsten. "This unit will continue to excel, and it's going to deliver effects for our Nation, our Army and our Soldiers. We will lead the way and we will make it happen."
The 3rd ESC is scheduled to move to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, toward the end of the year. It is the only active component ESC not currently located on the same installation with its higher headquarters. The ESC's relocation is expected to improve overall readiness by capitalizing on the synergy created by being
co-located with the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters.