FORT LEE, Va. (June 2, 2017) — Fort Lee welcomed a new senior commander May 31 at a change of command ceremony on Sgt. Seay Field near Mifflin Hall.
Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr. took over as the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general as Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams said farewell to the post he has led since August 2015. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, Training and Doctrine Command, served as the reviewing officer. It was the first time in recent memory the TRADOC CG was able to attend the event.
Instead of running through Williams’ long list of accomplishments, Perkins spoke about effective commanders and the qualities that make them great.
“When we put someone at the head of a command team, we want them to be really good at what they do,” he said. “There’s a list of things we want (them) to achieve. We want them to maintain good order and discipline; we want them to keep the trains running on time; we want them to comply with all tasks in accordance with the Army’s intent; and they need to make sure the ship of that organization runs a true and steady course.
“Generally, we don’t select somebody for command unless we think they are going to be, at least, a good fit for the job,” Perkins continued. “Darrell, you’ve been a very good commander and a perfect fit.”
Three other key things make a great leader, Perkins noted. First, they must be able to see beyond their organization and are concerned with making the Army better. “Darrell, you have exemplified that here by taking a look at the broader picture,” he observed, “and working closely with the folks on the Army staff, at Army Materiel Command and Army Forces Command, and other key organizations slung around the world. You sought answers to the question, ‘what can the Army’s sustainment think-tank do for you?’
“Instinctively, you’re a great strategic leader,” Perkins continued. “Your first thought was not solely ‘what am I going to do for CASCOM and Fort Lee?’ You have that down – you’re a good commander. You instinctively look beyond and outside your realm of responsibility and considered what can I do to help other people?”
Additionally, great leaders must look to the future, Perkins said, adding that Williams has set the CASCOM organization on the right track for the missions of tomorrow. He also lauded the passion the outgoing commander has shown while performing his duties.
“In my book, those who spend the majority of their time developing leaders and developing the people coming behind them, that is probably the No. 1 mark of a great leader,” he said. “The people who work for (Williams) unanimously say ‘I am better for having worked with (him).’ Whether it’s a student, a member of the staff and faculty, or someone in the greater Fort Lee community, they are better for having spent time with General Williams. They are better having him invest in them and establish his legacy in the staff he leaves behind.
“Darrell, look at your command,” continued Perkins. “I commend you for being a good commander. I admire you for being a great commander.”
Perkins also thanked Myra Williams for her involvement in the Fort Lee community and support of fellow spouses. The couple is heading to Fort Belvoir where Williams, who has been selected for his third star, will assume the director’s position at the Defense Logistics Agency headquarters.
Following Perkins’ lead, Williams refrained from running down a list of acknowledgements and CASCOM accomplishments.
“Myra and I have done our very best to say our goodbyes over the last weeks,” he said. “Suffice to say, we are incredibly proud of what we have collectively accomplished over the past couple of years and the progress that continues to be made in this very special organization, on this very special installation, in the heart of central Virginia. In truth, while I may have offered guidance and established priorities, each of you owns a piece of the rock of moving the ball steadily forward on many critical initiatives.”
Williams welcomed the new command team, and said jokingly it was the second time the Hurleys had been sent to “clean up the mess after me.”
“You’re inheriting a sustainment, game-changing team of leaders for our Army,” he said. “Sincerely, Paul, given your command history and experiences, and your tremendous professional reputation, you’re the right guy at the right time, and I know you will take CASCOM to new heights.”
While there is always sadness when saying goodbye to a command team, there is great anticipation of new leadership. Perkins said it’s evident the Army appreciates the Hurley command team as they moved from one position of leadership to another within a week’s time.
“When you go from command to command, it’s a challenge, but it’s what we call an indicator,” Perkins said. “We know when we have something good in the Army, and we’re going to hold on to it. Our assessment is that you’re going to be a great command team again here at Fort Lee.”
Perkins expressed his thanks to the Hurleys for taking on the assignment at “one of the most respected and essential institutions of the United States Army.”
Hurley and his wife Cathy come to Fort Lee from Fort Bragg, N.C., where they closed the chapter of the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) footprint at that installation. The unit’s new command team has moved on to Fort Knox, Ky., preparing for when the colors uncase there later this summer.
After recognizing family, friends and fellow Soldiers who were guests of his during the ceremony, Hurley turned his attention to the troops in attendance.
“To the sustainment Soldiers on the field today and the 100s and thousands of logistics and sustainment Soldiers you represent around the world – some in austere and very dangerous places – thank you for what you do each and every day,” he said. “You and those you represent work in tough, demanding, dangerous and sometimes thankless jobs, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last two years of supporting our combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other places in the region, it’s the power of U.S. logistics underpins success on the battlefield.
“The Soldiers and the (ones) you represent have never failed to deliver, have never been defeated and have never missed an opportunity to perform miracles on the battlefield that have allowed our brave warriors to fight and win,” Hurley observed. “Once again, thank you for being the warrior logisticians that you are.”
Hurley thanked the Williams family for their transition assistance and said they are “truly a class act.” As his remarks drew to a close, he expressed one more note of thanks and appreciation to the post.
“I am honored and excited about joining this team,” he said. “I look forward to working with all of you and learning from you to ensure our sustainers have the best training, doctrine, course design and education required to continue our proud history of success on the battlefield.”