By Kimberly Fritz, Fort Lee Public AffairsJuly 9, 2009
FORT LEE, Va. (July 9, 2009) -- Hundreds of members of Team Lee gathered July 2 to watch history unfold as the U.S. Army Logistics University officially opened with much fanfare and celebration.
Soldiers, Marines, Department of the Army civilians, foreign military officers and community members converged on the expansive new school grounds to listen to remarks by the leaders responsible for bringing this new Army learning center to Fort Lee.
International military students began the sequence of events with a parade of international flags followed by the 50 state flags. The 74 flag-bearers represented a small portion of the more than 32,000 students who will attend the ALU annually.
The ALU is the second of many Fort Lee projects mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure law. It marks the cumulative efforts of Congressman J. Randy Forbes, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command, the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee and the Army Logistics Management College.
Col. Shelley A. Richardson, ALU president, thanked those responsible for making this historical occasion a reality.
"This is a result of the incredibly hard work of many organizations and entities, all with different viewpoints of what right should look like," said Richardson. "But who came together the last 36 months with the goal of making the vision of this university a reality."
Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, read a note from Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, U.S. Army Materiel Command commanding general, marking the event. The framed note, which will be among one of the first objects to hang in the new building, reads in part: "Congratulations on this momentous event. This is a great day for the Army. It marks a milestone in sustainment training and education history."
After reading Dunwoody's remarks, Chambers spoke about what the future will be like at the Army Logistics University and Simulation Training Center.
"These two buildings will deliver education, training and constructive sustainment simulation," he said. "ALU will play a defining role in producing sustainers who are more multi-functional, more proficient, more capable and clearly more effective. Each Soldier and civilian leaving ALU will be ready to support victory on the battlefield and prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow whether in our Army, or in our sister services or with our allies."
Chambers said the ribbon cutting ushers in a new era for all who work in the sustainment field.
"It is a great and historic day for Team Lee," Chambers said. "We probably won't see something like this again for 50 or 60 years. It is one that we ought to embrace and enjoy."
He encouraged those gathered to stay for the celebration, which included KidZone activities, free food and beverages served by the Fort Lee Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, and music by the Time for Change band and the 392nd Army Band.
Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt, TRADOC deputy commanding general and chief of staff, said he was proud to be a part of the ceremony beginning a new chapter of the logistics history of the U.S. Army. Keynote speaker Congressman Forbes took to the podium with a prepared speech, which he quickly discarded and spoke about what he witnessed early in the ceremony.
"As I looked around here I decided to give remarks just from my heart," said Forbes. "I was thinking about this logistics university and this simulation center. This is not just a university and that is not just a center. You are sitting right now on the logistics capital of the world."
Richardson and Col. Sharon L. Leary, Simulation Training Center director, were presented with artists' renditions of the ALU and the STC as mementos to hang prominently in the buildings.
With all but one of the formalities accomplished, the official ribbon-cutting party assembled and officially opened the U.S. Army Logistics University for business.