By Ray Johnson, IMCOM-Europe Public AffairsMay 29, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany - Installation Management Command-Europe welcomed its new region director, while bidding farewell to the man who had overseen the organization since its inception.
Diane Devens accepted responsibility of IMCOM-Europe from Russell Hall during a May 29 ceremony on the parade grounds of Campbell Barracks. Hall is replacing Devens as director of IMCOM-Northeast, which is located at Fort Monroe, Va.
Keeping her remarks brief on an unseasonably hot spring day for Germany, Devens said her focus would remain on supporting Soldiers and family members, using successful programs and policies already in practice.
Labeling her transition "smooth," Devens said she looked forward to visiting garrisons located throughout the command as quickly as possible.
Addressing several hundred event attendees, Maj. Gen. John Macdonald, deputy commander of IMCOM, called Devens and Hall "two very talented civilians who have worked hard, who have made huge contributions to (the Army's overall) readiness."
"You should be extremely proud that you are leaving your present regions a better place for Soldiers, civilians and family members," Mcdonald said to the two senior executives. "You have contributed greatly in supporting an Army at war; an Army that is undergoing tremendous change; an Army that is in persistent conflict."
Recalling that Hall became region director in Europe shortly after the Global War on Terrorism began, the general said Hall was placed at the forefront of ensuring Soldiers were trained and equipped to fight on two fronts - while also providing for families at home.
Consequently, IMCOM "was living the Army Family Covenant long before it became part of the Army lexicon," Macdonald said.
Complimenting Devens as "a caring and dedicate leader," the general said he knew her as "forthright and fair, always letting people know where she stands on the issues ... she understands the Army and what a good quality of life means to our (communities)."
Devens is replacing the only director that IMCOM-Europe has even known.
Sitting down for a media interview shortly before the ceremony, Hall said he has been reflecting recently on the past six years, "trying to take it all in and savor the moment."
"It's bittersweet memories," he declared. "How do you leave something that has been a part of your life; that you've literally raised from infancy'"
Noting that IMCOM-Europe "has known nothing but war," Hall has watched the organization mature as an institution - managing, leading and changing garrisons - while also being totally dedicated and wedded to taking care of combat-bound Soldiers as they trained, staged, deployed, and then returned and reintegrated. "And we've been doing so as a constant way of life."
When asked for an example of command successes under his tenure, Hall pointed to the construction of Netzaberg housing, 830 family units, at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr. IMCOM-Europe did so by negotiating a loan guarantee with the German government - with state support from Bavaria - of more than 230 million Euros.
"A private investment conglomerate put up the loan guarantee; the American government didn't have to put a nickel up," Hall stressed.
However, Hall admitted he wasn't able to finish all that he wanted to accomplish. He had hoped to see expansion completed at USAG Wiesbaden and to help accelerate a final end state for the Army in Europe's transformation.
"But we were (hindered) in acquiring military construction dollars given the challenges of our Army," Hall said. "And war compounds it in terms of cash flow - 'do you pay to fill your gas tank or do you pay your mortgage'' I think you ought to pay your mortgage."
Now charged with taking on a new organization, Hall firmly believes "there is nothing IMCOM can't accomplish for Soldiers and families; we proven it time and time again under the most demanding circumstances.
"History will judge there is no higher calling, and no greater privilege than serving Soldiers and their families."