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Strong takes command of signal regiment. (Leader Transitions).

Little did he know at the time, but BG Randolph P. Strong was glimpsing his own future as he served as Aide-de-Camp to MG Bruce Harris, Fort Gordon's commanding general, in the late 1980s.

"I began to understand the importance and significance of the position. I learned everything from training and doctrine to equipment," he said.

Those 15 months from May 1986 to August 1987 gave him a basis from which he will be able to command the post and lead the Signal Corps Regiment.

"It gave me quite a bit of foundation and base to build upon," he said.

While some things at Signal Towers, including some of the furniture, are still around from his first tour at Fort Gordon, there have been numerous changes on the installation and the surrounding community.

In the late 1980s, the landscape of the base was dotted with many World War II era buildings and barracks.

Those are all gone.

"There's a lot of new construction," he said.

Not only are the visuals different, he said, but the key systems in the Signal Corps have changed. At the time, mobile subscriber equipment was the hot topic; today, it's the joint Network Node. A training center for JNN at Brant Hall was unveiled mid July.

Strong said he'd been watching the JNN develop while he was in his previous position as director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems at the United States Pacific Command.

And the face of Augusta has changed, he said.

"I went to Riverwalk and Fort Discovery over the weekend. That's all new," he said.

Plus, there are many additional shopping centers and restaurants in the city.

"I'm amazed at how the community has grown," he said.

Commissioned into the Army in 1978, Strong has served in a balanced mix of command and staff positions, and he said he looks forward to having the opportunity of working with the troops again as the new Signal chief.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," he said. "I don't think I could have timed it better. Now is the time I want to be in the position because of all that is going on in the world."

Attaining the post is the top achievement in his career which has already had many highlights.

Two particular posts stand out to Strong.

In 1999, he was deployed to East Timor.

"It was a tremendous opportunity," he said. "It's very unusual for a Signal Corps officer to be on the ground commanding the joint force."

Also, high on his list of Army achievements, is a 1995 deployment to Bosnia.

He was part of the initial deployment into the country and helped establish U.S. base camps in the Balkans.

"Being the first in theater is always an exciting time," he said. "It was a little chaotic, but it was very much a highlight."

Strong said he is looking forward to meeting the Civilians and Soldiers who live and work at Fort Gordon.

He said he's received a tremendous welcome.

"It's been overwhelming," he said. "People have been reaching out with open arms."

This is the third post that Strong has taken over from retired MG Janet Hicks. She preceded him at his previous post in Hawaii as well.

Some of her advice that will stick with him the most is to "remember all the great people here on post every day, and remember the community," he said.

"She's easy to follow. I couldn't be following a better person," he said.

Ms. Brackett is a contributing writer for U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon's newspaper, The Signal.
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Author:Brackett, Charmain
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2005
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