Chief of Transportation moves on to new assignment in Daegu, South Korea

U.S. Army photo by T. Anthony Bell
U.S. Army photo by T. Anthony Bell

Chief of Transportation moves on to new assignment in Daegu, South Korea

by Terrance Bell
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va. – Col. Frederick L. Crist ended his tenure as the 32nd Chief of Transportation during a relinquishment of command ceremony here May 25. He is on his way to Daegu, South Korea, where he will serve as the commanding officer of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

Col. Timothy R. Zetterwall, the T-School’s assistant commandant, will serve as the interim COT until the arrival of Col. Beth A. Behn who is wrapping up her assignment as the executive officer for Headquarters, Department of the Army G-8. Her assumption of command date has not been set.

Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, presided over the ceremony that took place amid the backdrop of current and historic vehicles displayed at Fort Lee’s Transportation Museum annex, a covered pavilion area adjacent to the Ordnance Training and Heritage Center. About 60 members of the greater sustainment community attended.

Crist, who came aboard July 23, is the second consecutive COT to relinquish the position in less than a year. Brig. Gen. James M. Smith, his predecessor, spent 11 months at the helm.

However brief his tenure was, Crist said it was marked with the steadfast support and warmth of community – something he was fortunate to have and something he is proud to speak about.

“I feel gratitude and deep appreciation because when I consider the various hats the Chief of Transportation wears, it’s very apparent that it can’t be done alone,” he remarked, “Nor does [a COT] have an organic team to do it with. It is really a team of teams that comes together every day to take care of our people, drive change and generate readiness by way of our production of Transportation Soldiers.

“In the Transportation Corps,” he continued, “we say ‘Nothing happens until something moves.’ And what is very clear is that to accomplish our mission, nothing happens until people are moved – moved to care, moved to act. So this morning, I want to thank everyone who cared and acted on our behalf. ”

The Trans. Corps at 64,000 Soldiers strong is responsible for moving personnel and materiel by truck, rail, sea and air and creating doctrine for the manner in which all of that achieved. Its school component trains thousands of Soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Fort Lee in occupations such as marine deck officer, railway operations crewmember and transportation management coordinator.

Later during this speech, Crist thanked Simerly for his support and that of his immediate and extended family and the sustainment community.

Simerly, who arrived at CASCOM two weeks prior to Crist, said the native Pennsylvanian achieved much during his time here, and most of it significantly affected training and doctrine. Among those achievements is his work in the area of tactical wheeled vehicle and watercraft studies to improve efficiency on future multi-domain battlefields.

“His efforts increased the Army’s awareness by identifying … operational gaps,” Simerly acknowledged. “He provided potential solutions and better prepared the force to execute largescale combat operations, thus resulting in increased Army readiness.”

Simerly wished the colonel luck at his next command assignment. He served as the 19th ESC commander prior to his transition to Fort Lee to become the CASCOM commanding general.

Photo Caption:
Outgoing Chief of Transportation Col. Frederick L. Crist provides remarks during his relinquishment of command ceremony May 25 at Fort Lee’s Transportation Museum Annex. Crist, also serving as the Transportation School commandant, took over those responsibilities July 23, 2021. During remarks, the colonel said he is appreciative of the experience. “Serving as the 32nd Chief of Transportation has been an absolute honor and will always rank among the highlights of my career,” he said. “I have always felt that serving as the COT is the best job in the Army, and that feeling of excitement and humbling honor continues now as if today were my very first day.”

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