By Paul Levesque, ASC Public Affairs
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – In a ceremony tinged with emotion and expressions of gratitude, Maj. Gen. Daniel Mitchell relinquished command of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command and retired from military service here, May 27.
Gen. Ed Daly, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command – ASC’s higher headquarters – served as presiding officer at the ceremony. Daly passed the ASC flag from Mitchell to Matthew Sannito, a member of the Senior Executive Service who serves as ASC’s deputy to the commanding general.
Sannito will serve as executive director of ASC pending the arrival of Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, who has been selected as ASC’s next commanding general.
In remarks delivered at the ceremony, Daly stated, “There is no place I’d rather be today than right here and right now, as we honor and recognize a great officer and a great command team, and we look ahead the next chapter in the lineage of this organization.
“It’s bittersweet, but I’m both honored and humbled to be part of this ceremony and to have served with Dan Mitchell,” Daly said, “who gave 36 years of selfless service to our nation, which in turn owes a debt of gratitude to this amazing general officer and his incredible family.”
Daly then cited and thanked a number of individuals for their service to ASC and the Army, including Sannito, who he described as “a great senior executive who I’ve known for many years.
“Matt, you’re the right guy to do this. I have no doubts at all, and I do not worry at all about the state of ASC. I trust you implicitly and I’m sure you’ll do an absolutely fantastic job.”
Noting that the relinquishment of command was a tradition that marked a milestone in a unit’s history, Daly said it presented an opportunity to recognize an organization’s past, present and future, and appreciate its leadership.
“It’s about your lineage and your people, who are our most precious asset,” Daly said. “ASC provides unparalleled support to the warfighter, and you – the people of ASC – are worth your weight in gold, and are the unsung heroes of the battlefield.
“The scope of your mission is enormous,” Daly said. “The value of what this organization brings to the Army is just fantastic.”
Daly said that the mark of a great organization is great leadership, and described Mitchell as “a brilliant officer, a master logistician and a great leader who has commanded ASC with distinction.”
Daly said that he first met Mitchell in 1998 when both were serving in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, in the rank of major.
“I can tell you unequivocally that the major I wanted to be like was Dan Mitchell,” Daly said. “He was a master of his craft who cared for Soldiers and was a great trainer and mentor.”
Noting that Mitchell did not originally set out to be a career military officer, Daly quoted poet Robert Frost by saying that he’d taken “the road less traveled.
“You took the road less traveled – the hard road – and know that, along that road, you have truly contributed to the lives of thousands of people in this profession,” Daly said. “Your legacy lives on.”
In his remarks, Mitchell thanked a number of individuals personally, and added that there were another 30,000 people he needed to thank.
“That number represents the total global workforce of the Army Sustainment Command, a very high-performing team of Soldiers, Department of Army civilians and contractors with a worldwide mission to integrate the materiel enterprise,” Mitchell said. “Any success I achieved as commanding general was because of you, and a day didn’t go by when I wasn’t impressed – if not outright amazed – by what the people of ASC were able to accomplish and achieve in terms of mission success.”
Those accomplishments, Mitchell said, included setting up Modernization, Displacement and Repair Sites at multiple locations, allowing Army units to use MDRS to dispose of excess equipment and advance modernization.
ASC also supported both DEFENDER-Europe and DEFENDER-Pacific, major exercises which Mitchell said gave the command a chance to show what it could do during large-scale, multi-domain combat operations.
Mitchell said that ASC played a critical role in Operation Warp Speed – the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine – by setting up and maintaining more than 60 vaccine test sites. The command also manages the movement of household goods for relocating military families, and operates Army Prepositioned Stock locations around the world and afloat.
“Those are just a few examples of how our nation relies on this organization,” Mitchell said, “and why what ASC does is so important to our defense.”
Mitchell praised the ASC workforce for persevering in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“You got the job done and didn’t miss a beat,” he said, “and for that I’m forever grateful. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together, and humbled to have served as your commanding general.
“This command did great things in the short time I was here,” Mitchell said, “and I’m absolutely certain you’ll continue to do great things under the able leadership of Matt Sannito, and down the road under Chris Mohan, who’s a great leader and a great friend.”
Mitchell also thanked the Quad Cities, a two-state area of communities in Iowa and Illinois along the Mississippi River.
“This is a great place to live,” he said, “and the partnership between the community and the installation in this area truly is second to none.”
His voice sometimes breaking with emotion, Mitchell thanked his father, Dr. Marvin Mitchell – a 90-year-old Korean War veteran and retired veterinarian who was present at the ceremony – and his late mother for teaching him a strong work ethic, respect for others, and proper values.
Mitchell’s wife, Lori, and their four children – Christine, Garrett, David and Johnathan – were also present at the ceremony, and were thanked by Mitchell for their love and support, through 22 moves, long hours of duty, and three years’ worth of deployments.
“Being a member of a military family isn’t always easy,” Mitchell said, “but we made it work, and that’s much more a credit to Lori than it is to me.
“It’s been a great career and a great profession,” Mitchell said, “and thank you to all the Soldiers, civilians and friends who made it all so enriching and rewarding. It’s been an honor to serve you and serve our country.”
During the ceremony, Mitchell was presented with a certificate of retirement and the Distinguished Service Medal. Daly also presented Mitchell with the General Brehon D. Somervell Medal of Excellence, which recognizes individuals who excel in the area of multifunctional logistical support.
Lori Mitchell was presented with the Meritorious Public Service Medal and a certificate of appreciation for her service to the community, and BRAT certificates were presented to the four Mitchell children. Daly also presented a stained glass AMC logo to the Mitchells, and an AMC commander’s coin to Marvin Mitchell.
Daniel Mitchell’s Army career began in 1985, when he was commissioned as an officer following his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Kuwait, and also as commander of Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas. He previously served at ASC as deputy commanding general from July 2013 to July 2014, and was commanding general of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive Command in Warren, Michigan.
Mitchell become commanding general of ASC on June 24, 2020.