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New commanders bring energy, enthusiasm to SDDC.

Lt. Col. John Reich was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during Operation Desert Storm.

Now, Reich will work with division Soldiers again as SDDC's incoming commander for the 832nd Transportation Battalion, Jacksonville, Fla. The Florida port is a favorite transit hub for the 101st Airborne Division's Soldiers.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Rich Kramer, on his fifth tour in Korea, will return to his old SDDC unit--the 837th Transportation Battalion, Pusan.

Kramer served as executive officer in the 837th in 1998-2000. He currently is assigned to the 19th Theater Support Command, in Taegu, Korea.

The two officers are among 10 new active and Reserve port commanders attending the SDDC Precommand Course at the Operations Center and at Fort Lee, Va., from Feb. 2-13.

"It will be a great challenge," said Reich. "I look forward to it."

Reich currently works in Force Projection at the Army's G-4 at the Pentagon, under Col. John Brown, former commander of the 598th Transportation Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Echoing Reich's enthusiasm, Kramer says his assignment is "an absolute honor and privilege."

"This was my No. #1 choice," said Kramer. "I've got the best mission."

Assignment to SDDC keeps Lt. Col. Mike Balser in the U.S. Transportation Command sphere of operations.

Balser, assigned to the command's J-3, Deployment Section, will assume command of the 833rd Transportation Battalion, Seattle, Wash.

"Luck-of-the-draw," said Balser, of his new assignment.

"I'm very pleased," said Balser. "I am looking forward to personally influencing the Department of Defense's end-to-end distribution."

One of the most challenging assignments will be handled by Lt. Col. Gina Rossi, who will be serving as commander of the 1190th Deployment Support Brigade, of Baton Rouge, La. An Army brigade is almost always commanded by a Soldier in the rank of colonel.

"I've been in the unit so long--18 years--it's a natural," said Rossi, who in civilian life is a clinical social worker.

Rossi's unit is serving as a critical link in monitoring SDDC's Operation Iraqi Freedom shipments.

The unit was originally activated in January 2003 and was recently extended for a second year of active duty.

The brigade has three teams in Kuwait and has worked deployments all over the East Coast, said Rossi.

The orientation training was coordinated by Carol Mayo, of SDDC's Operations Center.

"These officers are sharp," said Mayo. "They are ready to command. I'm impressed with their motivation."

Approximately one-half of SDDC's 24 terminal port units receive new commanders each year. Assignments are typically for two years.

Late Feb. 9, the new commanders caucused after a presentation by Lt. Col. Louis Plevell, SDDC's Inspector General.

Several commanders asked Plevell for a "Commander's Check List," of required actions.

"It is a huge thing," said one.

"What are we responsible/or (from SDDC inspections)?" asked another.

Plevell said he would review appropriate references and talk to key SDDC leaders about the subject.

"All-in-all," mused Plevell, "They're responsible for everything that happens in their unit."

Other new SDDC commanders included: Lt. Col. Charles Ippolito, 835th Transportation Battalion, Okinawa; Lt. Col. Drefus Lane, 836th Transportation Battalion, Yokohama, Japan; and Lt. Col. Patrick Lyons, 840th Transportation Battalion, Izmir, Turkey.

Reserve commanders at the orientation included: Col. Martin Langan, 1185th Transportation Terminal Brigade, Lancaster, Pa.; Col. James Walton, 1397th Transportation Terminal Brigade, Mare Island, Calif.; and Maj. John Pajak, 1205th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion, Middleton, Conn.

Two incoming SDDC commanders unable to attend the course included: Col. Gary Stanley, 598th Transportation Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and Lt. Col. David McClean, 834th Transportation Battalion, Concord, Calif.
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Publication:Translog
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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