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NEW COMMAND TAKES OVER AT TAD, AND RULING ON FLAG BURNING ASSAILED

SHARE NEW COMMAND TAKES OVER AT TAD, AND RULING ON FLAG BURNING ASSAILED

The U.S. flag waved briskly in the morning breeze as the colors of Tooele Army Depot were passed to Col. Roy R. Willis in the traditional change-of-command ceremony this week.

"Is there anyone here who perceives that burning the American flag constitutes freedom of speech? Of course not," said Maj. Gen. Eugene B. Leedy, deputy chief of staff for supply, maintenance and transportation, U.S. Army Materiel Command, who presided over Wednesday's ceremony. He said the soldiers and civilians who work at TAD are patriots who wouldn't think of desecrating a flag.Willis assumed command over the Tooele installation from Col. Richard J. Maksimowski, who has held the depot's top job since December 1986.

Willis comes to the depot from the U.S. Army Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., where he's been assistant commandant since 1988.

Wednesday marked both the end of Maksimowski's command and 27-year military career. He will soon retire to civilian life in Atlanta.

In closing remarks, Maksimowski encouraged TAD personnel to continue the progress that has already given them the best record for surety operations, safety and statistical process control in the Army's Depot System Command and the best intermediate maintenance record in the entire Army Materiel Command.

Although best known for its storage of 42 percent of the nation's nerve gas supply, TAD is also the Army's main repair center for general support equipment and drive trains.

Next month the depot will dedicate its new Consolidated Maintenance Facility, and other modernization proj-ects will be coming soon, Maksimowski said.

Leedy praised the depot's success in economizing and improving productivity. "No single command of the U.S. Army has innovated more progressively" than Tooele, he said.

And Willis predicted that the widespread social, economic and political changes sweeping the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe will undoubtedly prompt other changes that will affect the U.S. military, including TAD.

Although the Tooele depot is a military post, it has relatively few active-duty military personnel, so officials had to do some borrowing to muster the approximately 150 people in uniform for the change-of-command ceremony.

Music was provided by the 23rd Army Band, Utah National Guard. Members of the Alabama National Guard, training this month at the depot, donned their uniforms, as did soldiers from neighboring Dugway Proving Ground and several TAD civilian employees who belong to Army Reserve and National Guard units.