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CG visits FWD locations, says farewell

By 1st Lt. Caleb Eames | | May 28, 2009

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CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - Marines and civilian contractors forward deployed to locations in Iraq and Kuwait bid farewell to their senior officer during his final tour of Marine Corps Logistics Command’s forward-deployed sites May 14-19. 

Maj. Gen. Willie J. Williams, commanding general, LOGCOM, saluted those he has assigned closest to the fight during his last trip to LOGCOM (FWD) locations before he is scheduled to relinquish command to his successor in late June.

Williams spoke to his assembled Marines and civilian contractors in Kuwait May 18. 

“I am so proud of everything you are doing, and the fact that you are making such valuable contributions to the warfighter.  “That is what we are about,” Williams said.  “We get a lot of job satisfaction, and that comes from your enthusiasm and the fact that you are proud to be part of this great work.”

Williams visited LOGCOM Marines and civilians in Al Taqqadum, Iraq, and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, who are strategically placed to provide equipment support to the warfighter as far forward as possible. 

The deployed personnel were glad to see their commanding general.

“It’s a great honor to have the CG out here to see the wonderful things we’ve been able to do to support the mission we have here,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Howard Kaiser, LOGCOM (FWD) Kuwait staff non-commissioned officer in charge. 

“The general’s visit was great, we know he has been very busy, and we appreciate that he did come for a few days,” said Sgt. Roderick Phipps, Forward-in-Stores noncommissioned officer-in-charge, LOGCOM (FWD) Kuwait.  “It helps morale to know he cares about what happens here, and it also helps us when he briefs us on how much Headquarters Marine Corps appreciates what we are doing.”

Lt. Col. Don Mills, commander, LOGCOM (FWD) Kuwait, has seen LOGCOM succeed under the direction of Williams.  

“This has been a great experience working for Major Gen. Williams,” Mills said. “When I came to LOGCOM in 2006, they were just starting the LOGCOM academy, enabling all of us to understand the vision.  Now those ideas have really grown into fruition, and has really helped the command succeed. Once you form a relationship with someone, it is hard to see them go, but I know he is going on to bigger and better things.”

Sgt. Maj. Stephen Balczo, sergeant major, LOGCOM, who has been with the command for one year, commented on Williams’ final visit to his deployed Marines.

“It is always a good feeling to get out and see your Marines,” Balczo said.  “There is nothing like the satisfaction of assessing first hand, and helping to shape the future of   the presence and abilities of the Marines out here.  Even up to the day before the change of command, the general will still be looking for ways to improve LOGCOM.”

Williams’ vision of forward deployed logistics support has proven to be a huge success for both the command and for the Marine Corps, and has continued to build his legacy in the field of logistics.

Balczo commented that Williams’ departure will represent quite an impact on the command. 

“It is going to be a tsunami-like effect when Major General Williams leaves LOGCOM after these four years,” Balczo continued. “LOGCOM is everywhere, East Coast, West Coast, within the MEFs, forward deployed, all due to the CG’s vision.  He is absolutely well liked by everyone, Marines, the local Albany community, everyone.  His will be a very large set of boots for the next commander to fill, although the Marine Corps is sending us another fine leader who will continue to build on our already great progress.”

Williams’ replacement is scheduled to be Brig. Gen. James A. Kessler, current director, Personnel Management, Headquarters Marine Corps.


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