Back to News Front

Forever a soldier

Praises others for their service

Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza thanks his soldiers for their hard work and talks of his fondness to the Corps during the Change of Command Ceremony held on Watkins Field April 3 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Sgt. David Beckstrom

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza never talked about himself last Thursday morning during his exit interview.

He talked about building community relationships, the Pacific Pathways, implementing innovative training, and the pride he has in the soldiers he has led.

Lanza accomplished all this during his tenure as Joint Base Lewis-McChord's top soldier.

But he never once talked about himself; he talked only about the I Corps team accomplishments over the past three-and-a-half years.

On Monday, Lanza relinquished command of I Corps to Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky.

"We in the military have to stay connected to the people we serve," Lanza said last week during a roundtable telephone interview. "Trust is the bedrock of our profession."

During his time in command, Lanza's team worked to strengthen I Corps' local accessibility and global readiness.

On the local level, he cited the work done in establishing ties with local municipalities, universities and business leaders in order to foster reciprocal relationships with leaders outside of JBLM.

"The surrounding communities do a great job of working with us, from the corporate to state levels," Lanza said.

In the global arena, he pointed to maintaining ties with Pacific Rim countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines to develop the Corps' ability to deploy while enhancing regional stability.

These exercises improve the readiness of American forces and their allies, Lanza said. He added that as the Army becomes more integrated with its Guard components, Guard units would continue to participate in Pacific Rim exercises.

Throughout the conversation, he talked about others and noted that the Corps' relationships with those it serves must be maintained with local communities if it is to be successful.

"It is very important to sustain trust because this is a volunteer Army; we cannot grow apart from those we serve," Lanza reiterated. "I am also proud of the team here - the soldiers, airmen and their families."

These relationships will grow as more training occurs on JBLM as the Army continues to reduce costs and grapples with the logistical challenges of conducting training at the Yakima Training Center.

Lanza stated that his team worked hard to create innovative training scenarios and build joint relationships with the Washington National Guard, the Marines, the Air Force and the Navy.

"I like to say that JBLM is America's premier joint base power projection platform," he continued, "to go anywhere globally."

He continued by saying that he foresees no reduction or addition of soldiers at JBLM.   

Along with accolades for his team's work in building community and global relationships, his praise of the soldiers he has led was unstinting.

"I leave here humbled by what they do and proud of their accomplishments," he said, "and I will miss the people I have worked with."

Lanza, who will retire in June, said that he and his family plan to remain in the area at least until one of his children graduates from high school.

However, "I will be a soldier forever," he concluded.

Read next close

News Front

Freezing at JBLM

comments powered by Disqus