U.S. Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons took command of U.S. Transportation Command in a ceremony at Scott Air Force Base on Friday, becoming the first Army officer to lead the global combatant command.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis presided over the ceremony, highlighting the important mission of USTRANSCOM and the future of the command.
“When you see the connectivity and capability of this remarkable TRANSCOM team, any doubts about America’s ‘military might’ fade immediately,” said Mattis.
As the 13th USTRANSCOM commander, Lyons leads an enterprise of more than 144,000 logistics and transportation professionals.
Lyons previously served as director for logistics at the Pentagon and was the USTRANSCOM Deputy Commander from 2015 to 2017.
He spoke to the crowd of dignitaries, community partners, gold-star families and military members after taking the reins of the command.
“To this great TRANSCOM team and the broader joint deployment and distribution enterprise that includes organizations like the Maritime Administration, Defense Logistics Agency and our commercial partners … let me just say how incredibly proud I am to rejoin your ranks,” said Lyons.
Lyons succeeds U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, who retired today after 36 years of military service.
McDew told the audience he was proud of the USTRANSCOM team and praised their efforts. He challenged his former command to “… never allow yourselves to become satisfied with where you are today. Be bold. Lead. America’s future depends on it.”
During McDew’s tenure, USTRANSCOM supported strike operations in Libya and multiple missions in support of Operations Inherent Resolve in the Middle East and Freedom’s Sentinel in Southwest Asia, directing the movement of more than 236,500 passengers and 402,500 short tons of cargo by land and air.
USTRANSCOM executed more than 500 missions in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, transporting evacuees, security forces and humanitarian relief supplies. McDew led the effort to overcome the challenges of responding in three geographic areas of responsibility separated by more than 2,200 miles.
McDew oversaw a historic, national policy change which expanded the command's role to coordinate transportation for the joint force within the Department of Defense.
Today, USTRANSCOM delivers air, land and sea transportation capabilities for the DoD, projecting combat power anywhere in the world.
As the ceremony concluded, Lyons expressed his gratitude to all in attendance and had a message for his new command: “I’m honored to lead you on this next journey. Together, we will deliver.”
PHOTO: U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew passes the U.S. Transportation Command guidon to U.S. Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons during a change of command ceremony held Aug. 24, at Scott Air Force Base. The passing of a guidon serves as a visual symbol of a change of command. Lyons is the first Army officer to head USTRANSCOM. He leads an enterprise of more than 144,000 logistics and transportation professionals. U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis presided over the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Oz Suguitan)