FORT LEE, Virginia - Soldiers, civilians and families of the 80th Training Command bid farewell to Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper and welcomed Maj. Gen. Bruce E. Hackett during a change of command ceremony held here Sept. 17, 2017.
The ceremony's location holds historical significance to the 80th as it was headquartered at Camp Lee, now Fort Lee, a century ago when it was known as the 80th Infantry Division. It later transitioned to the 80th Training Command in October of 2008 when it moved to Richmond, Virginia.
Officiating the event, the Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, Maj. Gen. Scottie D. Carpenter spoke highly of Roper. Carpenter described the 80th's outgoing commander as a leader who embodies the values that others strive to exemplify.
"You all have been commanded by a wonderful officer," said Carpenter. "He is truly one of the absolute best officers I've had the privilege to work with."
Roper, an Alabama native, opened his remarks by highlighting the 80th's accomplishments during his time as commander. The 80th TC has conducted more than 3,600 classes with more than 75,000 graduates.
"We've handled 14 brigade-level and higher accreditations, and have deployed soldiers all across the globe," he said. "It's because of the quality of our soldiers. Because you all were committed to a standard of excellence, we have accomplished amazing things over these last three years."
Roper emphasized the significance of the 80th celebrating 100 years of distinguished service to our nation. "It's an honor and personal privilege for me to share this day with the Soldiers and civilians of the 80th," said Roper.
During his acknowledgements, Roper also stated that leadership starts at the top and expressed his gratitude to his senior leaders for their support and mentorship. Roper also thanked Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Darlington, his "battle buddy and right hand."
In addition to the senior leaders, Roper thanked all the soldiers, civilians and families for their unwavering dedication and support. "We are warriors and members of a team. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your team," he said. "There is no doubt that we cannot be successful without our family's support. And to my wife, Edith, who is the true commanding general of the Roper family, thank you."
Roper will soon take command of the 76th Operational Response Command in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Looking toward the future, Carpenter said he believes that newly promoted Maj. Gen. Hackett will take the 80thTC to "even higher heights," building on Roper's success. He is confident that Hackett is the right commander at the right time during this era of persistent conflict.
"He has a strong history of success," said Carpenter. "You're very fortunate ... you're gaining one of the best. He's thoroughly engaged. He embodies the values of what we want in our senior leaders, and he takes care of soldiers."
Accepting his new responsibility as the incoming commander, Hackett expressed his appreciation and privilege during his remarks.
"I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to lead this talented group of Soldiers," said Hackett. "I thank [Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General] Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey and Maj. Gen. Carpenter for having the faith and confidence in me and affording me this tremendous opportunity to train our nation's Army."