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MatCom founder to 'continue service'

By Regina Hegwood | | July 18, 2002


Marines, Sailors and civilian personnel within the Marine Corps Materiel Command will be interested in knowing that after the organization's dynamic founder retires from active duty, he will continue serving Corps and country as a logistics expert in civilian clothes.

Lt. Gen. Gary S. McKissock, deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics, has agreed to accept a senior mentor position with the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program based at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., the program's budgeting officer, Maj. Kimberly A. Hunter, reported Thursday.

"After he retires, Lieutenant General McKissock will replace retired Marine Lieutenant General James A. Brabham, our current logistics expert," Hunter said during a telephone interview.

McKissock will join the other Senior Mentor Program's distinguished mentors retired Gen. Richard I. Neal and retired Lt. Gens. G.R. Christmas and Bruce B. Knutson, according to Hunter.

The current commander of the Materiel Command, Brig. Gen. Bradley M. Lott, said the MTSP's finest feature is its Senior Mentor Program.

"I believe Henry Adams' quote, 'A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops,' is most appropriate to the mentor program," Lott continued. "General McKissock will continue to influence the Corps for generations to come through his own teaching and the teaching of his understudies."

In discussing the importance McKissock's role with the MTSP Program, Hunter explained that a senior mentor for logistics with extensive operational experience in a variety of command positions is crucial.

"General McKissock's command experience, which includes high-level staff and joint billets, will provide the breadth of vision necessary to successfully plan large-scale military operations," she said.

Credibility is a key factor for the senior mentors in passing on their war-fighting skills to their contemporaries, the commanders of Marine Expeditionary Forces and major subordinate commands, Hunter said.

The characteristics Hunter described were ironically similar to the Marine Corps Logistics Bases' commander's thoughts about McKissock's upcoming role as a senior mentor.

"Logistics can be a significant constraint to the war planners when executed poorly, but when done well, it becomes a real combat multiplier for the MAGTF commander," said Brig. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, MarCor-LogBases commander. "No one understands this better than General McKissock. He has a great sense for what is in the realm of the possible for logisticians, and he knows that if the Marine Corps can reach that potential, we will maintain our claim to being an indispensable expeditionary force.

"This is the right person to provide mentorship to our MAGTF planners as they face the new threats of the 21st century," Lott said.
According to Hunter, no retired Marine general officer has the professional qualifications and the logistics experience that McKissock does.

"Nor will any other retired general officers expected to retire in the foreseeable future," said Hunter.

But teaching skills, operational credibility and vision are not enough for the logistics senior mentor.

"He must also possess charisma to sell a 'revolutionary program' to senior officers who share the commandant's vision and commitment for building the Marine Corps of the 21st century," Hunter concluded.

The strength of McKissock's charismatic personality structured the foundation of MatCom from the time it was officially established and continues throughout the organization's subordinate commands and detachments.

The MatCom organization encompasses the Marine Corps Logistics Bases, headquartered at Albany, Ga., MarCorLogBases and its five subordinate commands, which includes MCLB Albany and MCLB Barstow, Calif., and the Maintenance Centers at each of these respective bases; the Marine Corps Systems Command, with operations at MCB Quantico, Va., and MCLB Albany; and smaller elements and detachments in California, Arizona, Ohio, New Jersey, Alabama and Florida.

McKissock's vision of the future of Marine Corps logistics and life cycle management is clear, but broad to allow for innovative approaches and new methods in the future, as his address on July 8 to a professional organization at MCLB Albany demonstrated.

The three-star general's vision of the Marine Corps' logistics future clearly defines the need for ongoing change to achieve the necessary innovations and improvements that will maintain the Corps' hard-earned reputation as the world's premier expeditionary force, as indicated by a new award that was publicized for the first time during a social event held recently to honor McKissock.

"The Gary S. McKissock Founder's Award for Innovation is named in honor of Lt. Gen. Gary S. McKissock, an innovator and conceptual thinker who visualized the future of logistics and secured the resources needed to reengineer the Marine Corps' outdated logistical support processes and information systems," MatCom Order 1650.2 reads.

"His [McKissock's] unwavering commitment to improving logistics support and readiness for the Warfighter has laid the foundation for the next generation of logistics and beyond," the order, generated by Lott, continues. "The Commander, Marine Corps Materiel Command, will present the award to a Marine or Civilian-Marine annually in recognition of innovations which improve logistics support or readiness for the Warfighter."

The first award for innovation went to Capt. Larry G. Paige of MarCorLogBases, and McKissock personally presented the award during the recent social event, despite its informal nature.

Hunter vocalized McKissock's reputation among his contemporaries when she summarized his qualifications for the senior mentor position.

"He enjoys an outstanding reputation within the general officer community and will bring with him this wealth of experience and knowledge specifically directed toward combat service support and program acquisition," Hunter said.

Official USMC Photo
Lt. Gen. Gary S. McKissock