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USTRANSCOM commander praises MTMC personnel at town hall meetings.

Approximately 400 personnel from the Military Traffic Management Command listened as the commander of U.S. Transportation Command sang his praises of the workforce at a town hall meeting in Alexandria, Va., recently.

The visit, since this was deemed an historical event, was the first time a USTRANSCOM commander has conducted a town hall meeting with the entire headquarters.

Addressing the audience, Air Force Gen. John W. Handy said he couldn't adequately describe the amount of pride he held for all the work accomplished by MTMC personnel in the past months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and, before that, in Afghanistan.

"Words don't adequately express the pride I have for the work you have done since January of this year. You have all responded like I've never seen in my 36 plus years in the Air Force. I'm in absolute awe," he said.

Handy gave an example of MTMC's outstanding performance. "I remember one single occasion when the 4th Infantry Division deployed from Fort Hood," he said. "You took apart a heavy combat division, and its components, transported it using air, land and sea modes, and sailed it around the world. When it arrived at the port, you reassembled the components. At the port of debarkation, the division was ready to produce combat power for the nation. That is just absolutely incredible.

"This is unimaginable to people outside of the Department of Defense," he said. Outside organizations can't understand this. It's a huge source of pride when the commercial industry credits TRANSCOM, but the people who do the work deserve the credit. Your attitude, dedication and professional teamwork pulled off what we've seen in Iraq, he said.

Speaking of the challenges ahead, Handy said, "Executing the war plan was the easiest part. Peace brings a greater challenge because of its lack of predictability in the world. Executing the peace is a far more dramatic challenge than executing the war."

During the town hall meetings, the audience asked Handy some questions. MTMC's deputy to the commander, William Lucas, asked Handy to compare the challenges of Desert Storm to those of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We improved information-technology systems to make dramatic worldwide improvements. It is a requirement for mobility. The flexibility of mobility will be demanding and we will continue to make world-class improvements in land, sea and air operations. By investing in IT we will continue to educate and take care of our people," Handy replied.

When asked about a possible name change for MTMC, Handy replied that the first thing to determine is the actual business of this command and then decide what the name should be.

"People make assumptions when they see a title. MTMC far exceeds traffic, household goods and privately owned vehicle management. I look at this organization as more like a surface command where you only need one point of contact for TRANSCOM and one point of contact for the combatant commander," he said.

"The next step is to ask what is MTMC's business, and then let the title follow. As you look at what we've done since OIF, you see this command is more powerful with its influence on warfighters than its name implies," he said.

With outsourcing becoming the norm in some cases, someone asked if outsourcing would become the norm for MTMC.

"We continue to improve what we do. When someone suggests we can contract-out for these services, it sends panic waves through the commercial industry.

"There are organizations in the commercial world like FedEx, DHL and UPS who do similar business, but they have a set of rules their customers must follow when conducting business. We are a unique group of people with expertise that cannot be duplicated. I defy anyone in commerce to say they can do what we do," Handy said.

When Gen. Handy later toured the Command Operations Center at Fort Eustis, Va., he received a briefing on daily operations and hosted another town hall meeting. Once again, he thanked the workforce for their outstanding support throughout Iraqi Freedom.

In response to a question about the possible future merging of MTMC and the Military Sealift Command, Handy said while it might seem logical to place all resources in one location, the mission of both commands is critical to the success of TRANSCOM.

"I felt so honored that Gen. Handy took the time to personally thank us," said Lori Stark, deputy chief of the Command Operations Center. "We really enjoyed meeting the man who handed down our policies and procedures during the war. It was a positive experience for all of us."
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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