The Army organization responsible for turning recruits into Soldiers, the Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, has a new deputy commanding general at the helm.

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command transferred responsibility from Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo to Maj. Gen. Bradley W. May in a ceremony March 2 at its headquarters in Fort Eustis, Va.

It is no small task to be in charge of IMT -- a special organization with a critical mission, said TRADOC Commanding General, Gen. Robert W. Cone.

"IMT has a critical and difficult mission. The dedicated Soldiers and Civilians of IMT literally take a kid off the street, and turn that recruit into a Soldier that is adaptable, physically prepared and consistently trained in the fundamentals. IMT ensures that when new Soldiers emerge, they're prepared to immediately contribute to their first unit of assignment as aspiring members of the Profession of Arms."

Longo acknowledged the importance of the IMT mission by using the TRADOC motto of "Victory starts here!" as a form of illustration.

"Victory does start here. But to put a finer point on that, I believe that victory starts in Initial Military Training. The Army of 2020 is rightfully TRADOC's first priority. But the captains and the sergeants who will lead our Army eight years from now are in basic officer leadership course and basic combat training today. We in the Initial Military Training Center of Excellence understand the importance of our role and we're inspired by this."

Witnessing this civilian-to-Soldier transformation was the best part of his IMT experience, Longo said.

"I love every single one of these kids because they stood somewhere and raised their right hand in a time of war and told their nation, 'here I am, send me.'"

During Longo's one-year tour of duty, the following accomplishments were accomplished by IMT CoE:

- Physical training matters. A physical readiness program was piloted that took new recruits from the basics of getting into shape and transformed them into Soldiers who can withstand demanding physical training by the time they graduated.

- Nutrition relates to combat performance. IMT developed the Soldier Fueling Initiative to help new Soldiers build good nutritional habits for life so they can perform on the battlefield.

- Family readiness ranked as top priority. The IMT mission is habitually executed by under-strength units, thus making the operational tempo exceptionally high and comparable to deployed units. Recognizing how difficult it can be for cadre to balance the demands of work and Family, a Family Readiness Campaign Plan -- the first-ever publication of its kind -- was implemented to promote well-being within the IMT community.

Longo will report for duty in Afghanistan as Director, Task Force 2010, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom.

May, incoming DCG, is reporting from Iraq, where he served as Executive Director, Deputy Commanding General (Advising and Training), U.S. Forces-Iraq; Operation New Dawn. May, who previously served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Center of Excellence in Fort Jackson, S.C., expressed his gratefulness to once again serve in an IMT capacity.

"What could be more exciting, fulfilling or more important than molding our nation's finest, our sons and daughters into Soldiers who have the solemn responsibility to protect what we hold so near and dear to our hearts: our freedom."

IMT encompasses reception-battalion operations that support IMT; basic combat training; advanced individual training; one-station unit training; Reserve Officer Training Corps; Officer Candidate School; Warrant Officer Candidate School; Basic Officer Leader Course Phases A and B; and recruiter, drill sergeant and other IMT cadre training.