FORT LEE, VA. -- Col. Aaron M. Stanek stepped into his new role as the Army Logistics University commandant Monday upon receiving the school colors from Brig. Gen. James M. Smith, 31st Chief of Transportation and interim ALU President, during a Facebook livestreamed ceremony in the Lee Club.
Stanek previously served as CASCOM’s deputy chief of staff, G3/5/7. He replaced Col. Brent D. Coryell who is retiring soon.
During remarks, Stanek shared his personal connection with ALU and said serving as its commandant is a high point of his 27-year career. He went on to explain that he met his wife Tiffany, a Richmond native, while he was a junior officer going through an advanced course at ALU in 1997.
“Beginning with the end in mind, I kind of always knew I would be back in this area toward the end of my career,” he observed. “I wanted my children to grow and experience what I feel is a special place to live, learn and achieve.
“Much has changed since I was a junior officer at Fort Lee. It was not imaginable then that ALU’s composite campus and state-of-the-art learning center would be a reality, but now it is a crown jewel. This amplifies ALU’s tradition of quality education and leader development of military and civilians.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected as the ALU commandant; to be with military and civilians; and having the opportunity to lead again. I pledge my talents, my abilities and my enthusiasm to the mission and to the institution.”
After passing the ALU flag to Stanek, Brig. Gen. Smith stepped up to the lectern to say farewell to Coryell and family, and welcome to the new commandant and his family.
“Brent brought a wealth of knowledge and carried a heavy load over the past year,” Smith said. “With the onset of COVID-19 preventive measures, he proactively led an all-CASCOM effort in collecting collaborative tools, both DOD inherent and commercial, to deliver virtual learning instruction to students. This is an enormous task during normal times that was made even more challenging by our ‘new normal.’”
Smith also thanked Coryell for his actions during the recent loss of ALU President Michael K. Williams.
“A sincere thanks to Brent for providing a steady hand when we needed it, and boundless grace following the passing of (Williams) earlier this year. He always seemed to know what needed to be done.”
Later in his remarks, the general further praised Coryell’s highly successful instructor certification badge program.
“This initiative resulted in 120 instructors receiving their basic and senior badges,” Smith pointed out. “Brent, as you sign off the net, I want to personally thank you and your family for your unwavering support.”
After welcoming “Team Stanek” to ALU, Smith described the incoming colonel’s qualifications for taking ALU’s helm.
“Aaron is no stranger to the sustainment community and the center of excellence here,” Smith said. “With multiple command tours and a balanced mix of heavy and light assignments, he brings a depth of understanding from his MACOM and corps experience with the strategic and logistics communities. Notably, Aaron served as the 401st Field Support Brigade commander, the G4 for Army Special Operations Command and on the joint staff – all formative experiences that make him uniquely qualified for his next leadership role.
“Aaron, I look forward to teaming up with you … and I thank you for signing up for yet another tour.”
Coryell started his farewell with a story about how he too “signed up for another tour” to become the ALU commandant.
“So, there I was in Korea a couple of years ago, when I got a message from Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg two weeks into his command of CASCOM, asking me what my future plans were,” Coryell said. “I told him I was likely retiring out of the Defense Logistics Agency Indo-Pacific. He asked me if I wanted to be the ALU commandant. Without hesitation I said, ‘absolutely, yes!’
“That is the one job I would’ve stayed a couple more years in the Army for,” he explained. “It is (a position I) always wanted as there was no better way to give back at the end of my career than focusing on the future leaders here at ALU.
“Col. Aaron Stanek, best of luck, and I have two gifts for you,” he said as he reached into the shelves of the lectern to pull out a thick, spiral-bound book and flip its pages. “The first gift is the ALU SOP. It’s a quick read at just under 1000 pages.