By Carolyn EricksonMay 22, 2009
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., - Col. John Megnia relinquished command of the Fort Leonard Wood garrison to Col. Charles Williams in Lincoln Hall auditorium, Tuesday. "A garrison commander is a ... one man band," said Russell Hall, Installation Management Command-Northeast region director. "He orchestrates a great fleet of individuals and a great team of professionals." Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood commander, spoke of the importance of the garrison commander. "Fort Leonard Wood is built on the garrison," Martin said. "It's (garrison command) probably the most challenging O-6 (Colonel) command in the Army." Hall shared several of Fort Leonard Wood's achievements as a garrison. He mentioned how Fort Leonard Wood executes funding better than any other installation, "bar none." Fort Leonard Wood also added "jointness" to the Army Family Covenant program by including other military services, and has signed more Army Community Covenants than any other Army post, Hall said. "Fort Leonard Wood makes the Army Family Covenant a day-to-day reality, not just a promise," Hall said. Hall lauded Fort Leonard Wood's single Soldier housing initiative that is a "model for our Army." The installation has built and is currently building dozens of town home-style housing for permanent party single Soldiers to live in instead of barracks. Hall shared how over the next five years, Fort Leonard Wood will receive more than $1 billion in construction money due to Megnia's guidance, and how the installation will receive $70 million of federal stimulus money because the post had shovel-ready projects. Hall compared the many successes to Megnia's hard work, like that of a farmer plowing a new field. "Change is hard," Hall said. "The toughest part is walking behind the plow. Megnia's boots are always muddy, because he is behind the plow." Megnia spoke of his time in command, having worked with five senior commanders, 10 school commandants, 13 brigade commanders and four chiefs of staff. "Three years is a long time, but it goes by so fast," Megnia said. "You can have a full range of experiences in a job like this." Megnia talked about how many of the successes he enjoyed were truly the results of earlier garrison commander's efforts. "There is no way that I could take credit for all the things that have happened," Megnia said. "Thanks to my predecessors for what they set in motion, that I could take credit for." Megnia shared some of the great events that occurred on his watch, and reflected on some of the more difficult aspects with a sense of humor. Megnia thanked his wife for being there for him throughout his 32 years of Army service, and gave a final message to the installation. "Don't change a thing," Megnia said. "Just keep making it better." Hall spoke of the new garrison commander, Williams, saying he is "the right guy in the right job at the right time." Hall also had some work advice for Williams. "You have to be all things, to all people, at all times," Hall said. Williams pledged to give "100 percent and then some" to the installation. "I have one single question I will ask every day to everybody: Is this the absolute best we can do for our Soldiers and our families'" Williams said. "If it's not, are we working on it - because they deserve nothing less." Martin encouraged Williams to forge ahead. "Build on the excellent work that Megnia has done," Martin said. "Keep moving forward. "We have to be innovative, we have to think outside the box, we have to reach outside to the community to take it to a new level - to be World-Class in All We Do as we accomplish our mission one person at a time," Martin said.