By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)November 8, 2018
The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) hosted a change of command ceremony for its Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment (HHD) in the Seay Auditorium at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Nov. 6.
With commanding general of SDDC, Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, in attendance, the SDDC Chief of Staff, Col. Zorn T. Sliman, officiated over the ceremony which had Capt. Cherry M. Lust handing over the reins to Capt. Christopher L. Fetterman.
"Today's ceremony is traditional, but the atmosphere is rich in symbolism and heritage," Sliman said. "It takes the right person to be successful commanding a dynamic organization like HHD."
He took the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of Lust and her dedicated team of Soldiers and civilians.
"Cherry's team really is the human heartbeat that brings life and keeps things going here at the SDDC Headquarters," he said. "All parts of our command are important, but the HHD staff … they bring us life."
"These soldiers and civilians talk the talk and they walk the walk. It's impressive enough that they've provided continuous company-level command and control, health and welfare, logistical, administrative, and training support to the headquarters, but she and her team also recently took over military evaluations and the in-processing function for both military and civilian personnel," he added.
The chief went on to show his full confidence in Fetterman and his abilities to carry on the successes HHD had experienced under Lust's command.
"Chris will meet and exceed our expectations to tackle those current challenges as well as the ones that lie ahead," he said.
"I know you have the right mix of leadership skills and reputation to add exceptional value to HHD and the SDDC Headquarters, and I'm confident that you are prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead of you. I'm glad you're joining our team," he added.
After his comments, Sliman gave way to the outgoing commander for her parting words to those she spent her time with since assuming command July 2016.
"HHD team … we made it," Lust said. "Thank you for being so awesome and always keeping me on my toes … I will miss working next to you."
She also recognized her first sergeants and noncommissioned officers (NCO) that worked for her during her tenure, admitting that she was only as successful as they were supportive.
"Behind every successful officer is an outstanding NCO running the show," Lust said. "You truly set the standard; you are the backbone of this organization and always present … it has been a comfort as your commander to know that I never had to worry about us accomplishing the mission."
She continued by lamenting what it is about SDDC that makes it so special to her.
"Surface Warriors, one thing that has made this unit so great is the relationships," she said. "Everyone I have worked with here has always been professional and ready to assist."
Even though she is no longer commander of HHD, Lust will remain with SDDC, working in the G3 Operations Directorate, something she is looking forward to, since she won't be doing one of her many property book audits -- a comment that brought the crowd to an uproar.
"Just know the next time you see me, it won't be just because I'm looking for serial numbers," she joked.
Lust was joined by her mother Tajuana McNeel, her two sons Robert, 11, and Jeremiah, 8, and the many friends she has made throughout her time at SDDC. Her husband Lt. Col. Brian Lust was on official travel and unable to attend.
She closed her time on stage giving some words of advice and showing her full confidence in Fetterman's ability to lead HHD.
"Today you are taking command of an exceptional unit that will challenge you in so many ways," she said. "I think your leadership will be perfect fit for this team and I have no doubt that you will do an amazing job."
Fetterman received his commission in 2010 from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in history. His last assignment was as the HHD commander for the 3rd Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group.
When he took center stage he noted that he had a strong foundation laid before him.
"I am following in the footsteps of a commander that probably has the record for longest HHD command," he said. "I have some big shoes to fill and from what I have seen and heard she has done an outstanding job."
Jokingly, he added that coming from a Special Forces unit into a command with such a mix of Soldiers and civilians that he will have to work out some personality kinks, but said he looks forward to what he will learn at this command.
"I may be a little rough around my edges from my time with the [Special Forces group] but this assignment will broaden me as a logistics officer," Fetterman said.
Fetterman was joined by his mentor Col. Todd Bertulis, the military deputy to the U.S. Transportation Command J3. Bertulis came into Fetterman's life through his father, retired Col. Patrick "Lee" Fetterman, when they were stationed together at Fort Carson, Colo. and U.S. European Command at Stuttgart, Germany.
Bertulis said he has watched Fetterman grow over the years and knows he will do a good job as HHD commander.
"He has become a great Army officer and as his friend and mentor, I can say with confidence that he is the right person at the right time for this job," he said.
To close out his speech, Sliman left the outgoing and incoming commanders with some words of career wisdom and how he defines a legacy.
"People will often forget what you said. People will often forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. That will be your legacy," he said.