By Jamie L. Carson, Combined Arms Support Command Public AffairsMarch 22, 2012
FORT LEE, Va. -- The thunder of 75mm cannon rounds, firing from the salute battery outside, echoed throughout Hatcher Hall and signaled the end of a chapter in Ordnance Corps' history as the 36th chief relinquished command March 21.
Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., Chief of Ordnance and Ordnance School commandant, is leaving Fort Lee to take command of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood, Texas, which is currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
LeMasters, who became the chief in July 2010, oversaw the school's historic move from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., as a result of Base Realignment and Closure initiatives, said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command commanding general.
"The corps is postured for successful execution of their mission on the 21st century battlefield because of Clark's leadership, strategic thinking and acumen for warrior training," said Hodge.
During his tenure as the school's commandant, LeMasters was responsible for overseeing the training of more than 35,000 advanced individual training Soldiers yearly.
The work of transitioning selected OD School courses to skills based training, revolutionized the concept and method used in training OD Soldiers at all skill levels, said Hodge.
During the ceremony, Hodge presented LeMasters with the Legion of Merit and the Gen. Brehon B. Somervell Medal of Excellence.
LeMasters' commandant battle buddies, Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, Quartermaster General; and Col. Steven E. Farmen, Chief of Transportation, inducted him into the QM Corps' Distinguished Order of St. Martin and TC's Honorable Order of St. Christopher. LeMasters also received farewell tokens from Bingham, Farmen and John E. Hall, Army Logistics University president.
Both Bingham and Farmen said they will miss their neighbors and friends, LeMasters and his wife, Mary, affectionately known as Crickett.
Crickett, a U.S. Army Reserve colonel who completed a 12-month deployment last year, received a CASCOM certificate of appreciation from Hodge.
"Having to manage her own very successful career, combined with being a mother and very visible spouse and supporter of the 36th Chief of Ordnance has been an enormous undertaking," said Hodge. "Yet you've accomplished it with grace and apparent ease. CASCOM and the Army cannot say thank you enough."
Col. LeMasters was inducted into the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe by Brig. Gen. LeMasters. The general also presented his wife with a bouquet of red roses.
Following the presentations of awards, the school conducted the official relinquishment of command ceremony.
LeMasters paused as he passed the colors back to Hodge. During his remarks, LeMasters admitted it was bittersweet letting go, but noted it was time to move forward.
"As with any military organization, as soon as you arrive the sands in the hourglass starting running … and it's time to go before you know it," he said. "The corps will have a supporter wherever I go."
Col. Gregory A. Mason, Ordnance School chief of staff, will serve as the acting commandant until a replacement has been named.