By T. Anthony Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs OfficeJune 4, 2008
Fort Lee, Va (June 4, 2008) -- A new leader has taken the reigns of command at Fort Lee.
Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, former commandant of the Army Transportation Center and School, became the 16th commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee Tuesday at a change of command ceremony held at the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade sports field.
Chambers replaced Maj. Gen. Mitchell H. Stevenson, who has been reassigned as the deputy chief for logistics at the Pentagon and who will soon be promoted to lieutenant general.
A fractional representation of all major CASCOM elements were represented during the ceremony, and a crowd of about 150 people came to witness the event, held at the sports field due to construction at nearby Sgt. Seay Field.
Gen. William S. Wallace, commanding general, Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, was the host and guest speaker for the ceremony. He said during his speech the Fort Lee community is fortunate to have such a capable leader in Chambers.
"I know him as a seasoned and superb Soldier and leader, but it won't be long before you see just how good he really is firsthand," he said. "Jim understands that leading Soldiers is a sacred trust, a sacred privilege, and he is exactly the right man to continue the strong progress made within CASCOM and the entire Fort Lee community...."
As the higher headquarters commander who will oversee the Army's Quartermaster, Ordnance and Transportation Corps, Chambers will inherit numerous challenges facing the logistics community. Among them are managing the installation's Base Realignment and Closure projects, continuing plans corresponding to Army Transformation and further developing the fledgling Logistics Corps.
During his remarks, the Soldier of 29 years wasted no time in acknowledging the job ahead of him, at least symbolically. He removed his old Velcro shoulder patch, replacing it with the CASCOM patch and declared, "I am now the proponent for sustainment."
His actions drew cheerful applause and shouts of "Hooah" from the crowd.
"Sustainment" is logistics lingo for the installation's new designation as the Sustainment Center of Excellence. The new label comes with a $50 million headquarters building, its top floors visible from the ceremony podium, to be completed near year's end. Chambers went on to say that his mission is to continue what Stevenson started.
"I fully acknowledge the course that has been set here at Fort Lee," the 55-year-old said. "My job is to maintain momentum, to keep the sails full, moving forward, focused on improving the lot of our Soldiers and their Families."
Chambers, who was promoted earlier this year, brings to his new position two combat tours and a wealth of experience in the logistics arena. They include a stint as commander, 13th Corps Support Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004-05), and director, Center for Logistics Readiness, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff (2005-06).
Stevenson, CASCOM commander since 2005, oversaw the formation of the Logistics Corps, which brings all logisticians together under one organization. The corps was formed to better train and develops leaders who can fulfill the new and emerging logistical operational requirements.
Stevenson also guided the installation through BRAC, the congressionally-mandated program that aims to increase efficiency and readiness through reorganization and realignment. The West Virginia native said both the Logistics Corps and BRAC will be in good hands but wishes he could see the projects completely through.
"I can say this morning with confidence that the CASCOM team is up to the task," he said. "My only regret is that I can't stay here to help finish the work we've begun."
At the Pentagon, Stevenson will replace Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the Army's highest-ranking female Soldier and a former CASCOM commanding general.