Rock Island Arsenal. Ill. – He was born in Waterloo, Iowa, raised in rural central Illinois, and describes himself as a “proud Midwesterner.” Now, Maj. Gen. Daniel G. Mitchell has returned to the area to lead an organization with a global impact on military logistics.
In a change of command ceremony held here June 24, Mitchell took command of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command. He replaced Maj. Gen. Steven A. Shapiro, who had served as ASC’s commanding general since August 2019.
Shapiro is retiring from the Army following a 35-year career and was honored at a retirement ceremony held after the change of command ceremony. Though it was a warm and sunny day outside, both ceremonies were held indoors at RIA’s Lock and Dam Lounge; attendance was limited, social distancing was practiced, and the ceremonies were streamed live via Facebook.
Mitchell was previously assigned to ASC Headquarters from July 2013 to June 2014. During that time, he was promoted to brigadier general and served as ASC’s deputy commanding general.
As commanding general of ASC, Mitchell will lead an organization responsible for providing responsive logistical support worldwide, through a global network with a presence in more than 20 nations and 32 states. Mitchell will also serve as senior mission commander of Rock Island Arsenal, which hosts ASC Headquarters.
Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command – ASC’s higher headquarters – presided at the ceremonies via a live video link. Perna began his remarks by welcoming the dignitaries who were viewing the ceremony, and then offered praise to the ASC workforce.
“I am so impressed by how you’ve taken care of yourself and your families over the past few months, and taken steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Perna said. “You’ve executed missions every single day and, in some cases, exceeded expectations.
“It’s really remarkable,” he added, “and it says a lot about (the people of ASC) personally, professionally, and collectively. I’m incredibly proud of what you’ve done; because of your efforts, our Army is stronger every day.”
Perna then praised the leadership of both Shapiro and Mitchell, who he said were willing to work night and day and to take the “hard knocks” that sometimes come with command.
“Both Steve Shapiro and Dan Mitchell have always been outstanding commanders,” Perna said. “This transition will build on the foundation of excellence built by Steve, and Dan Mitchell will take it to the next level.”
Perna singled out Shapiro for managing ASC’s support to the Defender 2020 exercise in Europe, to ongoing operations in Iraq, and to the drawdown in Afghanistan.
“More than $280 million in savings will be realized over the next two years because of Steve’s leadership,” Perna said, “and because of ASC’s ability to rebalance budgets and priorities through reform and execution.”
Perna cited Shapiro’s contributions to the expansion of ASC’s Army Prepositioned Stocks mission; to identifying and eliminating gaps in logistics support; to enabling power projection; to making quality of life improvements for Soldiers; and to improving the shipment of household goods for relocating military families.
“Steve knows how to assess courses of action, understands risk, and will make bold decisions when required,” he said. “Steve, thank you for a job well done.
“Dan Mitchell knows ASC’s mission, and he knows the great men and women of this command,” Perna said. “He is the right person at the right time to lead ASC.
“I ask him to stay focused on readiness,” Perna concluded, “to always challenge the status quo, and to put people first.”
In his remarks, Shapiro said that he and his wife, Mary, had contemplated retirement during their previous assignment in Germany, before agreeing to take the assignment as ASC commanding general.
“I’m glad we came to Rock Island,” Shapiro said, “because we have loved our time here.
“The workforce at ASC is second to none,” he said. “Every day, I’d have a meeting where I’d walk away absolutely impressed by the knowledge, expertise and character of the people of this command.”
A native of New York City, Shapiro was also positively impressed by the Quad Cities area, where Rock Island Arsenal is located.
“The Quad Cities is absolutely phenomenal,” Shapiro said. “We’re headed back east, but I wish we could pick up the Quad Cities and take it with us.
“Thank you for all you do every day,” Shapiro said. “We’re going to miss you very much.”
Mitchell began his remarks by noting that coming to Rock Island was a homecoming of sorts for him and his family, and that he had been assigned here once before. “It’s great to be back,” he said.
“General Perna, thank you for the trust you’ve shown in me and for giving me this opportunity,” he said.
“This command has a sterling reputation,” Mitchell said. “The people of ASC have a no-fail mission, one that is absolutely critical to the readiness of the Army and the joint force. It is truly my privilege to join this team of highly skilled, highly dedicated professionals.”
Mitchell said that he was looking forward to working with community leaders in the Quad Cities.
“When I was here before, I was impressed by how well this community supported the arsenal and our active and retired military,” Mitchell said. “I believe that what’s good for the community is good for the arsenal, and vice versa.”
Before coming to ASC, Mitchell served as commanding general of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, Mich. His career has included overseas assignments in Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, and the Balkans region. Past leadership assignments include serving as commander of Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas.
Mitchell has also served as deputy commanding general for support for the U.S. Army Materiel Command; director of G-3/5/7 for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command; and deputy commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command.
Along with the bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering which he earned at West Point, Mitchell holds master’s degrees from the U.S. Army War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. His awards and decorations include two Army Distinguished Service Medals, five Legions of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, four Army Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Parachutist Badge’ and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
Mitchell and his wife, Lori, are the parents of four children.