FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. - The flags fluttered in the warm breeze. A large American flag suspended between Fort Monmouth Fire Department apparatus blew straight out like a magic carpet. Then, as if on cue, the sun shone on Greely Field as the audience was asked to give Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Via and his wife, Linda, a round of applause.

The June 23 CECOM LCMC change of command ceremony was hosted by Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding general of the Army Materiel Command (AMC). During the ceremony, Via relinquished his command of the CECOM LCMC to Maj. Gen. Randolph. P. Strong.

Dunwoody said in her remarks at the ceremony that she knew both generals well and praised them both. She noted that Strong's background as an Army leader makes him a superb fit as CECOM LCMC commander.

"[Maj. Gen.] Randy [Strong] served as the commanding general, U.S. Army Signal Center and was the Chief of Signal - a key leadership position in the C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] and Signal arena," Dunwoody said. "He brings wide-ranging joint experience to CECOM, having served as the U.S. Pacific Command J-6 for three years."

She recalled that Strong was the commander of U.S. Forces in East Timor during the 1999 peacekeeping operation there and praised his "keen awareness of the needs of our 21st century Army" and his understanding of "how cross-functional collaboration ... is now a necessity."

"In short, [Maj. Gen. Strong] is a leader of vision who will continue the tradition established by his predecessor," Dunwoody said.

Speaking of Maj. Gen. Via's accomplishments as CECOM LCMC commanding general for the previous 23 months, Dunwoody told him in her remarks that he had much for which to be proud.
"You have trained, developed and built a remarkable team, a team energized by your vision, a team that has ushered in a new CECOM era," she said.

Dunwoody stressed that Via skillfully managed a global workforce of more than 250 military and 11,000 civilians located in 30 states and 18 countries.

"There's no better symbol of CECOM's achievements than what happened last year as the organization broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art campus, an Army Center of Excellence for C4ISR, at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland," she said.

"That center of excellence is truly a once-in-a-generation investment by the Defense Department and the Army in cutting-edge technologies, in new teaming approaches and in enterprise thinking."

"Losing a commander during a time of rapid and profound transformation always poses challenges," Dunwoody said, "but knowing the men and women of CECOM, I'm certain they are ready to rise to the occasion."

Strong said CECOM "saved his day" many times during his career by providing invaluable support during his deployments as a commander. This included Logistics Assistance Representatives and contractors deploying to Bosnia and elsewhere.

He said it was "truly awesome" to see the work being done by CECOM and Army Team C4ISR and to now become a participant in those efforts.

He pledged to do all he can to add to that proud legacy and said he looked forward to the challenges ahead.

Via had high praise for the command upon his departure. "The real story of CECOM belongs to the magnificent civilians and Soldiers, whom I've had the honor and privilege of serving as commanding general," he said. "Your enthusiasm and dedication in performing so many critical missions have brought well-deserved acclaim to CECOM LCMC and the entire Army Team C4ISR community."

The 389th Army Band, "AMC's Own", participated in the formation of troops on Greely Field and played throughout the change of command ceremony.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Linda Via was given a bouquet of red roses reflecting the heart and support she showed the Soldiers and members of the command. Yellow roses were presented to Strong's wife, Lori Borgna-Strong, to welcome her to the command. The Strongs' daughter Tiffany also received flowers and was welcomed.

At Mallette Hall, before the change of command ceremony, Dunwoody presented the Distinguished Service Medal and the General Brehon B. Somervell Medal for Excellence to Maj. Gen. Via; and the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal to Linda Via.