“As I think about General Mark Simerly over the past year, and especially over the past few months, I think about a quote from Vince Lombardi who said, ’Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self denial, hard work, discipline, dedication and respect for authority.’ As the COVID-19 Pandemic spread throughout Daegu, outside the gates here in the Area IV community, the superb leadership of 19th ESC held everyone together during these challenging times, which is now known as the New Normal,” said Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Michael A. Bills speaking at the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Change of Command Ceremony.
A few moments earlier Brig. Gen. Mark T. Simerly relinquished command of The 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command to Brig. Gen. Steven L. Allen during the ceremony June 9 at Kelly Field on Camp Walker, Daegu, South Korea.
“Brigadier General Simerly’s leadership of 19th ESC has been outstanding. This intense year of command may have been punctuated with the COVID-19 Pandemic, but under his command 19th ESC also carried forward initiatives that improved our fight tonight posture, all while mitigating the effects of the lapse of the Special Measures Agreement,” added Bills.
During Simerly’s tenure as the 19th ESC commander, he and his command provided vital logistics support to Eighth Army and were at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 during the crisis here in Korea.
“The door opened suddenly to the future with the appearance of the COVID-19 threat in Daegu, the epicenter of the epidemic, and our community became the bellwether for the rest of the Army and we truly set the standard for how to protect our community and protect readiness,” Simerly said during his last public remarks to 19th ESC.
Simerly, who took command of the 19th ESC back in July 2019, is continuing to serve in Korea as the United States Forces Korea J4 (Logistics).
“I am truly humbled and blessed to have served alongside with the great men and women of 19th ESC who continue to sustain and protect the warriors of 8th Army,” he added.
Brig Gen. Steven Allen, comes to Korea from the U.S. Army Sustainment Command where he was deputy commanding general. He has a long history of serving with logistics and sustainment.
“Lt. Gen. Bills, thank you for the opportunity to be the next commander of the 19th ESC,” said Allen. “I look forward to serving with you, Command Sgt. Maj. Schmidt, as well connecting with the entire command team.”
When Allen arrived in the Republic of Korea, he was placed in a mandatory 14-day quarantine like anyone else who enters the country from abroad. But, for his transition, 19th ESC did not waste time. The unit worked to ensure that the 14 days were used to maximum efficiency to guide a smooth transition for Allen.
“From the first time you reached out to me a few months ago and up through today, you have held true to your word to operationalize this transition in a COVID 19 environment,” said Allen.
“To the members of Team 19 where Every Soldier Counts, Janelle and I are honored to serve with all of you in this outstanding organization and to sustain the fight tonight for 8th Army,” added Allen.
“We look forward to our journey ahead together. We thank you and your families for your trust, loyalty, teamwork, and all that you do each and everyday to support 8th Army, our ROK partners and our nation.”