By Staff Sgt. Bryan Michael Dominique (I Corps)March 6, 2017
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The military isn't what comes to most peoples' minds when thinking of Seattle, but one Army general in the Puget Sound region is looking to change that.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza is in the last few weeks of his tenure as the commanding general of I Corps, headquartered at JBLM, a joint Army-Air Force base about 45 minutes south of Seattle. During his time in command, he has made it a priority to connect the military to the American people, starting in Washington.
I Corps is partnered with Seattle and regularly hosts tours of JBLM to give people an idea of what the corps does and what happens behind the gates. Soldiers from the installation also participate in city events such as the Sea Fair Torch Light Parade, Evergreen Washelli Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies, and the Seattle auto show.
"Every community from [Seattle] to Olympia has a community connector program, with commanders and leaders that are assigned to your communities to make sure we stay connected to those we serve," said Lanza during a speaking engagement at the Seattle Rotary Club.
His visit to the rotary club was part of a two-day community tour of Seattle, including a visit to Amazon, Microsoft, the Seattle Police Department, and University of Washington-Seattle, among others, Feb. 27 and March 1.
Amazon and Microsoft are just two of many industries the military partners with to assist in the transition process for service members and provide training with industry opportunities that aim to maximize unit readiness moving into the future.
"For those of you going back to the Army, take what you learn here and bring it back to your organizations," said Lanza to training with industry participants at Microsoft. "There's a lot that we can learn from each other."
At Amazon the discussion focused primarily on ways to enhance the readiness of service members transitioning from the military to private sector.
The Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program, or SFL-TAP, the Army's transitions assistance program, partners with different groups such as Cammo2Commerce and Hiring our Heroes to provide corporate fellowships with various corporations, with the intent of giving service members experience in the business world months before leaving the military.
"One of the discussions is what you take away from this and how we can bring it into our leader development, and what we want to train our junior officers and our non-commissioned officers on," said Lanza to a group of corporate fellows and training with industry participants at Amazon headquarters. "I'm also looking for your experiences that we can [bring back] to help other people transition [from the service]."
The trip to Seattle was Lanza's last official engagement as a senior military representative. He is scheduled to relinquish command of I Corps, April 3 in a change of command ceremony.
No official announcement has been made of Lanza's follow-on assignment, but he used the trip to assure leaders of I Corps and JBLM's commitment to the surrounding communities.
"We have to stay connected with those we serve; we cannot be a military apart," he said.