FORT LEE, Va. (November 25, 2010) -- The Army's first female Quartermaster General officially took her post during a Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and Sustainment Center of Excellence(SCoE)-hosted ceremony Monday morning at Fort Lee's Williams Stadium.
As several hundred servicemembers in formation looked on, Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross relinquished command to Col. (P) Gwendolyn Bingham. Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, CASCOM and SCoE commanding general, oversaw the ceremony.
"I'm delighted to be here as part of this very special event," Hodge said during his remarks following the passing of the QM colors. "Thanks to all of you for joining us this morning to not only celebrate the achievements of the 50th Quartermaster General, Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, but also to welcome the 51st Quartermaster General, Col. (Promotable) Gwendolyn Bingham, our first female quartermaster general."
Hodge took the time to thank Cross for his efforts while serving in one of the top SCoE leadership positions. It was Cross's third change of command this year, as he took the helm of CASCOM and SCoE between Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers and Hodge, who arrived nearly three months later.
"(Cross) did everything that was expected of him as a commandant, and so much more," said Hodge. "Jesse has provided for the Army, the Quartermaster School and the individual Soldier every day. As a decisive, approachable, caring and visionary leader, he ensured that the Quartermaster School provided warrior Soldiers trained to the right standard and ensured the Quartermaster School remained postured for success for years to come."
Cross kept his speech short, and sent out his thanks to a laundry list of personnel who helped him along the way.
"It has indeed been an honor to command this organization," said Cross. "I want to personally thank everyone for all of the support they have given to me."
Cross welcomed the Bingham family as the new Quartermaster School command team and had high praise for his replacement.
"This morning, I had to give up an incredible command, however, I am proud to say that I cannot think of a more focused and efficient leader and a great Army team to hand the reins of command to than colonel promotable Bingham and her husband, Patrick," he said. "They are well-qualified to handle the rigors of command."
While saying goodbye to Cross, Hodge welcome the new commandant with open arms.
"We are losing an absolutely great commander of the quartermaster school today, and at the same time we're gaining an equally great officer to take his place," said Hodge. "She will continue to lead the quartermaster school forward. The Soldiers, civilians and the families of the quartermaster school remain in good hands with Colonel Bingham."
"I have all the faith and confidence that she can and will continue to ensure that the school will remain viable and relevant. When quartermaster warriors depart Fort Lee, they will be trained and capable of performing their missions, Hodge continued."
Bingham served as the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee commander, and the CASCOM and SCoE chief of staff before her last assignment as Special Assistant to the Commanding General, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait (as well as elements in Kabul, Afghanistan and Kandahar, Afghanistan).
"I am absolutely thrilled that the road I've traveled has led me back here to my beloved Fort Lee, the place I began my Army career more than 29 years ago," said Bingham. "Indeed it is my greatest honor to have the privilege to lead great Soldiers as the first female quartermaster general and continue to serve as one among you. (Major General Hodge) I thank you and our senior Army leadership for the faith, trust and confidence placed in me."
Bingham ensured the school knew she was focused on her new position.
"I often tell subordinate commanders that command is not a job, it is a commitment," said Bingham. "Rest assured, I am committed to the task at hand.
"I pledge to provide my very best efforts daily in the leadership, training, care and commitment to our men and women who comprise our ranks and hear pride in the rich heritage and lineage that we embody. I believe they deserve our very best efforts, daily."