FORT LEE, Va. - Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, visited the Combined Arms Support Command, the Army's sustainment think tank, Feb. 27, to learn about training initiatives, credentialing programs and to discuss the future of sustainment.

"Fort Lee has always held a lot of personal importance for me," said Via, who is a native of Martinsville, Va. "As a cadet at VSU (Virginia State University), this is where we'd come for our training and land navigation." Noting that while the installation has changed much over the years, he said the focus remains on training and leader development.

Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, commanding general, CASCOM and Fort Lee, hosted the visit to show how the sustainment community is "providing warfighters with the decisive edge." CASCOM is a major subordinate command of the Training and Doctrine Command and a multifunctional organization. The command develops, trains and educates more than 185,000 sustainment Soldiers and civilians annually; supports unit training; and designs, builds and synchronizes a mix of capabilities, formations and equipment for the Army.

In his first stop at Fort Lee, Via presented coins to Master Sgt. Vodricka Epps, Basic Petroleum Logistics Division noncommissioned officer in charge; Anthony Clark, Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer course manager, Ordnance School; Sgt. 1st Class Jason Tellez, Water Treatment Specialist training developer, CASCOM; and Rory O'Brien, Army Logistics University Basic Officer Logistics Course tactics section supervisor, for their "game changer" service and dedication to training and developing military members. Their contributions range from streamlining an instructor certification process to designing training exercises, which incorporate Army Learning Model principles.

Following the awards presentation, he spoke to students at the Army Logistics University, which provides military and Department of Defense logistics leader education for about 32,000 students annually.

During the group discussion with students attending the Theater Logistics Planners and Sustainment Pre-Command courses, Via shared his command philosophy, which has been developed and refined over 33 years of service. The key areas he emphasized were positive leadership, teamwork, standards and maintaining the military's reputation for excellence. He also encouraged the students to stay focused on the mission and lead from a foundation of trust.

"Focus on what you are doing to make a difference…and never pass up an opportunity to say thank you," he said.

Via recently returned from a trip to forward deployed locations, where he visited AMC units and personnel. While at the Home of Sustainment, he toured AMC's Directorate of Logistics facility to see how they are supporting Army and joint readiness. DoLs provide supply, equipment maintenance, transportation and ammunition management at Army installations. He also visited the Fort Lee Fleet Management Expansion, which maintains the training equipment fleet.

After touring those facilities, Via received an overview on Ordnance School training and credentialing initiatives. While on the school's campus, he learned about the Stryker Maintenance course, and saw first-hand how Soldiers virtually troubleshoot problems with the vehicle using a hi-tech computer simulation. He also had the opportunity to see the Virtual Welder simulator and computerized lathe and milling machines, which provide students with 21st century realistic training.

The AMC commander ended his day talking with CASCOM's Technology Integration Branch and learning about App development and how gaming technology is being used to enhance and increase availability of learning opportunities.