By David San MiguelJune 24, 2011
Fort A.P. HILL, Va. " In a break from training and the unrelenting heat, Soldiers of the 165th Quartermaster Group gathered inside the Virginia National Guard Armory on Fort A.P. Hill to witness their unit’s transfer of authority, June 12.
There, Col. Thomas J. Vaccaro assumed command of the unit from Col. Bruce E. Hackett who now joins the staff under Brig. Gen. Peter S. Lennon, commanding general of the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
The change of command is a time-honored tradition in which the unit’s leadership is transferred in a symbolic gesture with the passing of the unit guidon from the outgoing to the incoming commander. It marks the official transfer of authority and the beginning of new leadership.
“You’re getting a commander of equal talent,” commented Lennon. “He will make sure the 165th lives up to its reputation.”
Hackett agreed and added that the Soldiers of the 165th were very fortunate to have Vaccaro as their new unit commander.
He said that he too was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to command the unit.
Originally, Vaccaro had been selected to command the unit but had asked for a deferment to attend the much sought after, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Hackett had been chosen as the interim commander until Vaccaro completed course.
In his remarks, Vaccaro thanked Hackett for bringing the unit’s standards up … it’s a sign of good leadership, he said. “And I am honored to lead this group of Soldiers.”
A distinguished military graduate from the Reserve Officers Training Corps Program at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., Vaccaro entered active duty in May 1986 and served in various assignments with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan., until he joined the U.S. Army Reserves three years later.
His Reserve assignments encompass a variety of command and staff positions within the Air Defense, Quartermaster and Transportation branches, some highlights of which include commanding the 359th Transportation Battalion (Terminal) from 2006 until 2008 and the Defense Logistics Agency Theater Consolidation and Shipping Point at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, from 2005 until 2006.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters; the Defense Meritorious Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Army Commendation Medal with eight oak leaf clusters; the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters; the National Defense Service Medal with one service star; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device and ten year service device; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; the NATO Ribbon; the Army Service Ribbon; the Parachutist Badge; and, the Pathfinders Badge.
Vaccaro resides in Stafford, Va., with his wife, Debra; daughter, Carissa; and, sons, Anthony and Andrew.