FORT LEE, Va. – The initial entry Soldier who became an automated logistical specialist here 23 years ago is back – this time as the garrison’s top enlisted leader.
Command Sgt. Maj. Tamisha A. Love was officially welcomed to the Fort Lee command team at an April 23 change of responsibility ceremony in the Lee Club. Col. Karin L. Watson, garrison commander, presided over the formalities that included reclaiming the installation colors from outgoing CSM James D. House and passing them to his successor.
The senior mission commander at Fort Lee, Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, and his command team counterpart CSM Jorge C. Escobedo, CASCOM CSM, were among the distinguished guests. Also present were House’s wife and three children and a close friend of the incoming CSM. In-person attendance was limited as a COVID-19 safeguard. The event was livestreamed on social media.
Prior to remarks, Watson presented leis to the two sergeants major and their guests. It was a reflection of her heritage as a Pacific Islander hailing from Guam. She then focused on the business of acknowledging House’s many accomplishments while serving as garrison CSM.
“He helped lead the installation with a focus on quality of service … and improving living conditions for military members and their families,” she said prior to drilling down into the specifics of how he has contributed to Fort Lee’s COVID-19 response plan and the continuing comeback from the privatized family housing crisis that erupted in 2019 – highlights among other achievements.
Watson described House as a “champion” of General Order #1, the pandemic protection document that outlines the command’s expectations for social distancing, wearing protective masks and limiting travel. He was among the key leaders – along with Watson’s predecessor, Col. Hollie Martin – who have attentively listened to resident concerns, mostly voiced during contentious housing town halls.
“He has worked closely with our garrison housing staff, providing guidance and quality control oversight of approximately 1,500 privatized residential community work orders,” Watson said. “He monitored occupant experience in our privatized Army lodging facilities and the 13,000-plus barracks spaces for AIT and permanent party service members.”
House demonstrated how much he cares for Soldiers and their families through personal involvement, including calls to check on the welfare of those displaced from their homes during mold remediation, according to Watson.
“Sergeant Major House’s tenacity and effective communication and interpersonal skills resulted in one of the best, if not the best, partnerships between privatized housing partners and a garrison within the Installation Management Command,” she said. “That, along with the high standards of excellence he sets for himself and the organization he serves, are what likely ensured his selection as the IMCOM G-4 sergeant major.”
Welcoming Love, Watson noted that “she’s no stranger” to Fort Lee, having previously served here as a chief instructor and writer in the Logistics Training Department, first sergeant of the Quartermaster Branch at the Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy and the senior NCO in charge of the Enterprise Resource Planning Branch, CASCOM G-3/5/7. The incoming CSM also has deployed to Iraq twice. She last served as the CSM for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
“She returns with a great reputation, work ethic and passion that, for me, make her selection to help me lead the garrison evident,” Watson said. “Do not be fooled by her short stature. She is a force to be reckoned with. She has a vibrant personality and is ready to run. I am once again blessed to have a great noncommissioned officer as a battle buddy to navigate the challenges of garrison command. CSM Love, we are going to have some great times.”
House spent the majority of his time at the lectern thanking the military leaders who supported and mentored him and acknowledging the talent and expertise of the many civilian professionals on the garrison team. He joked with Escobedo about their off-duty woodworking projects and fishing trips where the stocky senior CSM would nearly flip the boat while shifting seats.
“I could not have picked two better leaders to work for,” he then said in reference to Watson and Martin. “You are both gifted in your own ways and brought unique experiences that helped make Fort Lee what it is today. … Col Watson you make the entire team want to come to work every day, and I only hope my next job will have a similar environment. Thank you for fully supporting me and entertaining my crazy ideas.”
He assured Love that “this will be a job like no other.”
“Use the teams’ experience,” he advised. “This team is amazing … and will do anything you ask of them. They are professional, hardworking and dedicated to mission. I only ask one thing, which is to take care of them and my, now your, commander. They deserve nothing but the best.”
Last to speak was Love who made note of the many family members, friends, leaders and Soldiers who asked if she was excited about becoming the Fort Lee garrison command sergeant major.
“To answer the question, I would be first to tell you there’s no secret this installation is a high-performing organization known for putting the welfare of Soldiers and their families first,” Love said. “Since I’ve arrived, I have witnessed nothing but the utmost professionalism. It’s something to be very proud of. Also, I get to be part of a community that continues to make unique contributions to our military, and of course, I get to be a part of Team Lee again.
“So, without any doubt or hesitation,” she continued, “I can honestly say I am honored and extremely excited to be part of such an elite team. I look forward to (building) on this great legacy and continuing to make Fort Lee the installation of choice for Soldiers and families around the Army.”
A copy of Love’s bio can be found at home.army.mil/lee/index.php/about/leadership. A portion of the ceremony livestream – interrupted by a loss of internet connectivity – can be viewed at www.facebook.com/ArmyFortLee.