Col. Crist takes charge of Transportation Corps
Col. Frederick L. Crist accepts the regimental colors and becomes the 32nd Chief of Transportation during a July 23 assumption of command ceremony in Wylie Hall’s “Doc” Washburn Auditorium at Fort Lee, Virginia. Crist previously served as the executive officer to the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Tom Burcham IV) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – Col. Frederick L. Crist officially became the 32nd Chief of Transportation during an assumption of command ceremony here July 23 in Wylie Hall’s “Doc” Washburn Auditorium.

Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, proudly passed the corps colors to Crist as a slew of community leaders from the Sustainment Center of Excellence, as well as family and friends of the honoree, watched the proceedings. The ceremony was livestreamed on the Transportation Corps’ Facebook page.

Simerly began his remarks with an overview of the Transportation Corps footprint. Its training facilities span over 1,100 miles from Fort Eustis to Fort Leonard Wood. The mission of the corps, summed up by its oft-spoken slogan “nothing happens until something moves,” is global, complex and vital to Army readiness, the commanding general noted. He then expressed confidence in Crist’s leadership attributes, saying they are what make him a great fit for this new assignment.

“Colonel Fred Crist is endowed with many outstanding qualities,” Simerly confidently said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and professional transportation experience. He’s demonstrated the talents and skills necessary to successfully lead this great organization.”

In his most recent assignment, Crist served as the executive officer to the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Prior to that, he was the commander of the 597th Transportation Brigade – aligned under the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, a major TRANSCOM component.

“As the brigade commander, Colonel Crist was key in spearheading SDDC’s ability to establish relationships with (commercial and federal) partners to deliver readiness and lethality to warfighters around the globe.” Simerly pointed out as he looked over to Crist, “Fred, undoubtedly you’re the right person at the right time to serve as the 32nd Chief of Transportation.”

Crist’s other key assignments include stints as commander, 626th Brigade Support Battalion, 3/101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); G-5, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command; Chief of Proponency, Office of Chief of Transportation; and many other leadership and staff positions.

During his time at the lectern, Crist first thanked God, family and friends. The new chief also offered a nod to Brig. Gen. James Smith who recently ended his tenure as Chief of Transportation.

“I offer a big thanks to you and Trina for your friendship, time and all of your insights.” Crist acknowledged. “You have made a tremendous impact on the Transportation Corps. I assure you I will continue advancing initiatives that you put in place and moved forward while you were here.”

After thanking many others who have influenced his life, Crist shared a quote from former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, noting how the words have shaped his thinking as an Army Transportation officer.

“If you’re not mobile, you’re not lethal.” Crist recited. “It frames how I see the impact of the Transportation Corps on the Army and for the larger joint force. Regardless of whether the operational concept describes how the Army will fight and win the Airland Battle or today’s multi-domain operations, what is consistent throughout all of it is the necessity to move the Army strategic distances, and enable and sustain tactical war.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Crist expressed that he is both humbled and excited to lead the corps.

“As your 32nd Chief of Transportation, I look forward to setting conditions the Army needs to compete day to day and when called upon to go out and win in combat.”

Crist began his military career in 1989 as an enlisted Stringer Missile Gunner in the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard. After graduating from the Penn State University, he commissioned as an infantry second lieutenant and was branch detailed to serve with the Transportation Corps. Crist holds a Master of Military Art and Science degree from the Advance Military Studies Program and a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University.

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star, one oak leaf cluster; and Meritorious Service Medal, one silver oak leaf cluster. Crist has earned the Ranger Tab, Expert Infantry Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.