VICKSBURG Miss.-"The only thing we haven't done is a funeral," said Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stulz, commander of the Army Reserve, to a crowd of approximately 400 Soldiers and civilians after he presided over three ceremonies that changed the leadership of the 412th Theater Engineer Command at the Vicksburg Miss., Convention Center on April 2.
During the first ceremony, Stultz promoted Brig. Gen. William M. Buckler Jr. to the rank of major general, then he administered the 412th TEC's change of command ceremony where Maj. Gen. Paul F. Hamm relinquished leadership of the command to Buckler. Immediately after the change
of command, Stultz administered Hamm's retirement ceremony where he presented Hamm with the Distinguished Service Medal for 37 years of dedication to the Army.
"It has been a long journey for me to this day," Hamm said during his retirement speech. "I still remember the longest day of my life, the day I reported to West Point on July1, 1969.Hamm said that acknowledging retirement was difficult, but he knew that it was time to move on. "We're gonna miss you Paul," Stultz told Hamm during the address. "But we're not gonna forget you. You've got a legacy here at the 412th, and throughout the Army engineer corps that will be there forever."
Hamm commanded the 412th during the last three years of his career, transforming the organization from an engineer command, which is a strategic and planning organization, to the current theater engineer command, which is a an operational, and functional headquarters
that governs all Army Reserve engineer and engineer support units east of the Mississippi River. Hamm also guided the successful mobilization of 34 subordinate units totaling more than 2,000 Soldiers in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn. While serving as Hamm's deputy, Buckler led one of those units, an element of the 412th TEC headquarters known as Deployable Command Post One, to Afghanistan in Aug.2009. DCP One was responsible for coordinating all engineeroperations throughout the country.
Stultz visited DCP One in Afghanistan, and he told the Vicksburg crowd that he was impressed with the unit's accomplishments based on his discussions with Buckler's superiors. Stultz also referenced Bucklers bio and said that the word commander stood out significantly.
"It wasn't very hard, when the board came out and said we recommend Bill Buckler to be a two-star [general] for me to say yes," Stultz said. "He is exactly the right person to take over the reins of the 412th engineers." During his promotion speech, Buckler reminded the TEC's Soldiers that they were the foundation of the Army, then he narrowed his focus on the noncommissioned officers.
"Whenever I can I acknowledge the great NCOs that we have; I learned most of what I know about character and being a father from my father, a retired sergeant first class,"
Buckler said. His dad, William Sr., his wife Carol and Hamm assisted Stultz with the promotion ceremony. Buckler then ended the speech by quoting Luke 12:48, which says, "To whom much is given much is expected." "I realize what I've been given, and I realize what is expected, and I will do my best," Buckler said.