GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY: Thank you. Well, for those of you who, a month ago, said “Christ, is it ever going to be spring around here?” Welcome, and be careful what you ask for, it's one of those days.
Commander of Troops, can you do me a favor and call the formation to attention and then put them back at parade rest so they can be exercised before I begin speaking.
Thank you Commander of Troops and thank you young men and women of United States Transportation Command, how about a round of applause of them?
Ambassador Gegeshidze, Secretary Hagel, Congressmen Shimkus and Costello, civic leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen – good afternoon, it's a great pleasure to be here with you and an honor for Deanie and me to be a part of today’s ceremony and to share this very special day with two very special families.
And by the way, among the folks that we really ought to welcome are the previous commanders of transportation command, I forget exactly how many of you are here today, but where are you all? Where’d they hide you? There you are. Let's give them a round of applause.
You guys look pretty good for being retired actually, not you Duncan.
And I also want to say something, just for a moment, about the seven grandchildren of the Fraser family here today. You know, they're a military family they've got folks who are serving, folks who have served, folks who have served in not only in the Air Force but the Marines and United States Army and they've got their seven grandchildren here and to you grandchildren, I hope you realize what an incredible day this is, not only for your grandparents, but for this command and for this country. Celebrating 40 years of service by your grandma and grandpa, so, how about … let’s give a round of applause to the grandkids!
It is special to be back here at Scott Air Force Base—a base with a history as rich and exceptional as our nations. This is a base that enjoys an incredible partnership with the Belleville community. The Belle-Scott Committee—our nation’s oldest civic support group to a military community—has supported our service members here and their families for the past 64 years. Please accept my appreciation and my reassurance that what you do really makes a difference.
And of course, this is home of the men and women of TRANSCOM, as I mentioned.
One of our military’s greatest strengths is that our people know, as the secretary just mentioned, that when they ask for something, they’re gonna get it. No matter the danger or the circumstance, they trust that what they need is on the way because it’s in the hands of Transportation Command and the men and women who populate your ranks.
And I'll tell ya, you are truly what make us global and soon behalf of the Joint Chiefs, whom I represent, as well as combatant commanders, those who are your biggest fans actually, thank you for what you do.
That trust – even more than the materiel you deliver – makes us the strongest military that the world has ever known.
Another source of our strength is the support of our families. I’m so pleased to see the whole Fraser family here today. As we honor Will for all he has done, I want to especially thank Bev, Mac, and Ashlee for supporting his service through so many years.
Bev, while you were raising two amazing young adults, you shared your deep compassion for our collective military family at every assignment ... in every country ... and on multiple continents.
Your voice for military children to ensure that they have access to quality education and the love you put into caring for the families of our wounded warriors are just two inspirational examples of the many ways that you’ve had an impact. Deanie and I thank you for all you've done.
Will, you are the best non-logistician logistician I’ve ever known. In fact, your career is marked by your ability to lead, as the secretary mentioned, no matter where you've been assigned and no matter what we've asked you to do.
You've delivered, pilots, distinguished visitors, conventional bombs, gas and even political démarches, but nowhere in your resume, prior to TRANSCOM, had you ever delivered packages, parts and patients.
In Aggie speak, that's Texas A&M for you Midwesterners, I think they call that “good bull.”
And by the way, I have no idea what that means, but the speech writer put it in here.
Regardless of the payload, the constant in your diverse career is that you’ve always delivered excellence. Your leadership embodies all that we value in the Profession—a commitment to the mission, to people, and to families ... and to maintaining the delicate balance between mental, physical, and spiritual strength.
As you retire your coraframs for cowboy boots and settle into your new career as grandparents, know that we are proud of all that you, Will and Bev, have delivered together. Thank you for forty inspiring years of service. Deanie and I wish the very best for you in retirement.
The good news is that we’re placing, in this command, in the hands of another very capable couple, Paul and Ricki Selva. You bring to the TRANSCOM a track record of excellence and a clear passion for mission, people, and their families.
Paul, your record speaks for itself. Your leadership commanding Air Mobility Command and the fact that you actually have logistics experience gives us all great expectations.
I can’t think of a better couple to lead TRANSCOM on its mission to deliver excellence around the world.
You have our full confidence and support. Best of luck and God speed. And commander of troops, exercise the troops one more time before I sit down.
Thank you very much.