With more than a decade of combined experience in leading U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, four former commanding generals traveled to TRADOC to discuss current initiatives and challenges facing the command.
Gen. David G. Perkins, TRADOC’s commanding general, welcomed retired Gens. William R. Richardson, John W. Foss, William W. Hartzog and William S. Wallace to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for the Former TRADOC Commanders’ Forum July 30, 2015.
Perkins began by thanking the commanders for their participation and noting not only the impact they had on TRADOC and the Army, but also the valued knowledge they continue to share with current TRADOC leaders.
“It’s really amazing to sit there and actually hear how these things came about; you really do get the ground truth,” Perkins said, referring to initiatives like the School of Advanced Military Studies and Field Manual 100-5.
Because of the wealth of historical knowledge in the room, Perkins emphasized the importance of learning from the commanders’ previous experiences. He added that although some challenges may seem new, they are very similar to challenges the former commanders have faced.
“As we tackle some of these things – when you peel the onion back at the macro-level, it’s not that much of a new problem,” he said. “It may have a new characteristic … but it’s still about applying combat power.”
Throughout the day, the former commanders asked questions, provided observations and offered input as TRADOC leaders provided updates on initiatives including Force 2025 and Beyond, Army University and Soldier 2020. The commanders also learned how the Asymmetric Warfare Group and Rapid Equipping Force continue to help the future force win in a complex world.
Wallace, who commanded TRADOC from 2005 to 2008, said the event was very educational.
“Thank you for capturing a significant part of the TRADOC brain trust and locking them in the Morelli Auditorium,” Wallace said jokingly. “It was very useful, and very informative.”
Richardson, TRADOC’s fourth commanding general, said he appreciated the wealth of experience in the command, and he was proud of all that TRADOC has accomplished.
“It makes me very proud to know that I had a part of it years ago, and I mean just this little bit – compared to what you guys do today – and it’s fantastic,” said Richardson, who commanded TRADOC from 1983 to 1986.
“And not enough people, I think, really understand what you do for the Army – with respect to what goes on here, as far as concepts, requirements, training, education and all the rest. I’m very proud of you and your folks here, and I just want to thank all of you for being there.”
As the forum came to a close, Perkins thanked the former commanders for their time and effort in continuing to shape the Army, calling them great examples of Soldiers for life.
“Because you’re constantly involved – emotionally, intellectually and physically – with what the Army’s doing, you’re a great example – for those of us that continue to serve – that your service is never actually over,” Perkins said.
“I hope you can see your fingerprints all over what’s going on – directly and indirectly – because you’re there, and they’re lasting.”