By Amy Perry, Fort Lee Public Affairs
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FORT LEE, Va. –Michael K. Williams took charge as Army Logistics University president here Monday when he accepted the symbolic “torch of knowledge” passed along by outgoing president John E. Hall.
The torch of knowledge was created by the U.S. Army Ordnance School for the university’s ceremony. Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, presided over the change of responsibility in ALU’s multi-purpose room.
Maj. Gen. Williams said the event was historic and important as the scope of the university reaches 21,000-27,000 logisticians each year, which he pointed out was larger than the undergraduate population of the University of Virginia and four times the student population of Virginia State University,
“(ALU) is, indeed, a major academic university responsible for training the Army, many of our sister services, and many of our international students in transportation, supply, maintenance, contracting and a host of other specialties,” MG Williams said. “We are the precursor to TRADOC and to the Army’s university and one of the very few institutions of its kind in the entire world.
“The real ‘secret sauce’ or foundation of what we teach is leadership,” he continued. “ALU produces game-changing leaders for our Army and for our world. Every Soldier – every troop – deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, all over Europe, all over the Pacific, and other operations globally are all impacted by the leaders and professionals who hone their craft (at ALU).”
Hall was the first Senior Executive Service member to serve as president of ALU – two other presidents were Army officers – and Maj. Gen. Williams said Hall was instrumental in shaping the school.
“For the past five years, John has admirably led the Army Logistics University,” Maj. Gen. Williams said. “He was extremely well-qualified to do so, having served 27 years on active duty as a multi-functional logistician, as a Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran, as an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. He also held strategic assignments at organizations such as the Defense Logistics Agency. We were, indeed, very fortunate to have a person of John’s caliber at the helm during some very complex and critical times to help shape this great university.”
For the past 9-10 months, Hall has served as both the ALU president and in his new position as deputy to the commanding general, CASCOM, and Maj. Gen. Williams said he appreciated his service at the sustainment headquarters.
“There is a silver lining in today’s ceremony in that John remains on our team,” he said. “I know your relinquishment of responsibility comes at the right time, but we have plenty of work to keep you busy as the deputy at CASCOM, so fear not. I know you will continue to serve with great distinction and honor to our great nation.”
During his remarks, Hall said leading ALU was the greatest honor of his nearly 40 years of service and thanked his fellow ALU staffers.
“Every day, members of Team ALU bring passion, commitment, dedication and creativity to teaching and educating the Army community,” he said. “Your efforts will be reflected in the great Army leaders you have developed for many years to come.”
Hall said ALU would be in good hands with its new president.
“It greatly pleases me to pass the mantle of ALU to such a capable and distinguished leader as Mr. Williams,” he said. “His achievements in multiple positions of great responsibility bode well for ALU’s future. As I formerly relinquish my responsibilities as president at ALU, I won’t be too far away … and I’m here to support you.”
Maj. Gen. Williams said he is looking forward to Mr. Williams’ tenure as president.
“The other silver lining in this change of responsibility is that we are literally getting two for one,” he said. “We get to keep John, but we bring aboard an equally talented and proven, Mr. Michael Williams.
Mr. Williams, a U.S. Military Academy graduate, was commissioned as a military police lieutenant. He joined the civilian service in 1987 as a GS-5 and became a member of the senior executive service in 2007.
“He has served our military exceedingly well,” said Maj. Gen. Williams. “His credentials are unassailable, and he is undoubtedly the right man at the right time to take this university to even greater heights.
“Mr. Williams has an impressive and extensive logistics and academic background,” he continued, “and he understands the importance of support to the war-fighter. He is a proven leader who brings an extraordinary combination of talent and experience to the position.”
It’s a great opportunity to lead the university, Mr. Williams noted. During his remarks, he said he was reminded of when he first joined the service.
“The drive down here brought me back to 38 years ago – June 1978– when my parents took their 17-year-old son to the Richmond Recruiting Station and signed me over to the Army because I wasn’t old enough to join the Army at that time,” he said. “So, I had an E-5 who escorted me, held my hand, and then put me on a train to Fort Dix, N.J. I got off the train and I met Drill Sergeant Johnson, and I guarantee you the reception he gave me was nothing like I’ll receive here. I can’t repeat some of the things he said to me as a 17 year old. He had to babysit me until we started basic combat training.
“Thirty-eight years later – with great leaders, mentors, people who cared about me, and the love of family members – I find myself with this opportunity to lead our future logisticians,” said Mr. Williams, who then expressed excitement about getting started.
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