Change afoot as 3rd COSCOM cases colors
Stars and Stripes June 2, 2007
WIESBADEN, Germany — Though it is returning to the U.S., it wouldn’t be right to say the Army’s 3rd Corps Support Command is heading home.
In its 57-year history, the unit has never been stationed in the States. But on Sept. 15, it will open for business again under a new name, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, at its new home at Fort Knox, Ky.
The COSCOM’s subordinate units aren’t so lucky.
Before the unit’s colors were cased Friday, the command’s 19th Support Center and Special Troops Battalion cased their colors and inactivated, possibly for the last time. COSCOM’s 16th Corps Support Group inactivates Wednesday.
“It’s a bittersweet moment for all of us as we say farewell to the 3rd Corps Support Command and the STB and the 19th Support Center,” Brig. Gen. Scott G. West, commander of the 21st Theater Support Command, said in a speech during what the COSCOM called a “farewell ceremony.”
It was bitter, he said, because it means saying goodbye to members of the “U.S. Army Europe family.” The sweet part is taking advantage of the opportunities that come with the Army’s efforts to reshape and relocate many of its overseas forces.
“This represents the future of the Army’s logistics command and control,” Brig. Gen. Michael J. Lally, 3rd COSCOM commander, said in his speech.
Hessen’s minister president, Roland Koch — the equivalent of a U.S. governor — called the relocation and inactivation consequences of the reunification of Germany and the calls by European politicians to reduce the amount of weapons in Europe.
“It is a success of both politics and the military as a tool of politics to make that happen,” Koch said.
He was nevertheless saddened to see so many Americans leaving his state.
Over the last 50 years, Hessen has been home to a lot of U.S. troops and their families, he said.
“It is a great privilege for our country to have so many people in the United States of America knowing what this country is,” and what its people think, do and feel,” he said.
For two of the last four years, 3rd COSCOM was in Iraq providing logistical support to U.S. forces and helping Iraqi forces develop their own logistics system. It was the only corps support command to serve two full tours in Iraq.
At its peak, the unit had about 3,000 soldiers. Friday’s ceremony affected about 900 troops.
“I’ll be honest with you, it’s a sad day,” Command Sgt. Maj. Willie C. Tennant, who has been assigned to the unit three times in his career, said after the ceremony. At the same time, he said, he’s excited for the “new frontier” represented by the move.
Between now and the middle of September, everything from soldiers to equipment has to be in place, in working order “and ready to rock and roll for the possibility to go down [to Iraq] in the next rotation,” Tennant said.