By Staff Sgt. David Chapman, 5th MPADAugust 30, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.--Flags waved, cannons roared and the 56th Army Band played as Soldiers, friends and Family in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community came together to welcome a brand new leader to the Pacific Northwest.
During a ceremony in front of the I Corps headquarters building, visiting dignitaries and unit commanders welcomed Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, who will soon be taking command of the 7th Infantry Division when it stands up here in October.
Lanza began his career as an Artillery Officer and has recently completed an assignment as the Army's Chief of Public Affairs, Washington D.C.
Lieutenant Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general, I Corps, took the opportunity to share his feelings and excitement to welcome Lanza and his Family to the JBLM team.
"Major Gen. Lanza is an amazing leader. He has been combat tested in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and tested in operations like Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has had multiple tours in Iraq and been an incredible combat leader," said Brown. "I got to serve along side of him and be in Iraq. I'll tell you what, when you needed something, you went to General Lanza and he would deliver. "
Following the ceremony Lanza took the opportunity to share a little about his expectations and command plans as he prepares to take control of the 7th Inf. Div. at its new home here.
"We will have trained and ready deployable brigades to support our nation's strategy, that can support what our combatant commanders need," said Lanza. "We will establish a system of standards and discipline in the organization that will make this an environment to train our Soldiers, take care of our Families and be the best division in the United States Army. We want to make the 7th Inf. Div. the unit of choice for both Soldiers and Families."
He also wanted to share his thanks for the warm welcome that he and his Family have received upon their arrival to JBLM.
"It was a tremendous reception here. What (Lt.) General Brown did, the community coming out, and the leaders coming out and the beautiful Pacific Northwest day, made this phenomenal," Lanza said. "It was very exciting and I was quite honored they took the time to do this."
The commanding general also wanted to take the opportunity to discuss his intent for not only the JBLM community, but also those that surround the base.
"We want the Pacific Northwest communities to build a relationship with our Soldiers and Families so that they understand what Soldiers do, and that they understand the commitment, dedication and sacrifice that our Soldiers and Families have displayed," said Lanza. "On the other hand we want to get to know our communities because we know you don't have to be in uniform to serve your country. There are many different ways to serve your country and I think it is important to let our civilian partners and teammates know in the surrounding communities just how much they mean to us and how much they support us."
Lanza will assume command of the 7th Inf. Div. when the unit reactivates October 4th and the division will provide oversight for personnel, equipment, training and readiness of three Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, a Combat Aviation Brigade and a Fires Brigade--totaling some 17,000 Soldiers, according to the I Corps Public Affairs Office.