Two years after not being able to correctly pronounce Tooele Army Depot’s name, Col. Christopher Mohan reluctantly passed on the torch of commander of the installation Wednesday.
Under the authority of Brig. Gen. Kristin French, Mohan handed the depot’s colors over to Col. Roger McCreery, who is the 71-year-old installation’s 36th commander.
“He’s already one up on me,” Mohan said in remarks following the ceremonial change of command. “He knows how to pronounce ‘Tooele.’”
Mohan will be heading to Army Material Command headquarters in Alabama to serve as executive officer to the AMC deputy commander, Lt. Gen. Pat McQuistion. In the wake of his relinquishment of command, he reflected on the many friends he had made in the area, and expressed gratitude to them, as well as the workforce at Tooele Army Depot.
“As I look out into the audience, I see teammates, community leaders, fellow patriots — but most of all I see friends, and it is for that reason that I must give my heartfelt thanks to [my commanding generals] for giving me the opportunity to command this great organization,” said Mohan.
Mohan commended employees for their efforts and efficiency, and encouraged them to rise to the challenges caused by continued budget cuts and other difficulties not encountered by previous generations of the military.
“Today we’re faced with a different set of challenges, but I believe where there are challenges there are opportunities,” he said. “As we deal with the fiscal reality of today, we must seize this opportunity to be more efficient, so that we can continue to provide the warfighter with exceptional service. This will require us to challenge the system as we look for innovative ways to solve problems and conserve resources, and there is no better organization to do this than Tooele Army Depot.”
French also recognized the depot’s workforce, as well as the man who had lead them for the last two years.
“It’s your everyday labor that permits our warfighters to be successful in their mission, and to preserve liberty in countries all over the world,” she said. “[Mohan] exemplifies the Army values and courage and selfless service, as well as providing the determination and perseverance to achieve the high standards that he sets for himself and those who work with him in order to support Tooele Army Depot, [Joint Munitions Command] and the U.S. Army. He solves problems and he’s dedicated, not only to Tooele, but to the larger community which surrounds and supports Tooele.”
The general praised Mohan’s leadership qualities, as well as his proactive nature in paving the way for the reintegration of Deseret Chemical Depot as Tooele Army Depot’s South Area; breaking ground for a 421-dish sterling solar array to accompany the depot’s electricity-generating wind turbine; and a concentrated focus on safety. During his tenure, the depot shipped 65,000 tons and received 64,000 tons of conventional munitions without a single accident.
As for the incoming commander, French said McCreery’s experience has primed him for the job. McCreery was most lately assigned to the Joint Logistics Operation Center for the Defense Logistics Agency at Ft. Belvoir, Va., but has experience in Italy, Kuwait, Germany and the Philippines.
“[McCreery] has proved his leadership skills as a platoon leader, company commander and as a battalion commander,” said French. “He knows what soldiers need and he knows when they need it, and I’m confident that Roger’s vast logistics background will serve Tooele very well. Tooele Army Depot continues to be in good hands.”
McCreery, who said he learned how to pronounce “Tooele” from his wife, a Salt Lake native, said he was excited to start his new post.
“I am grateful for the privilege to join this great team of professionals, providing superior ammunition logistics support to our nation’s warfighters,” he said. “I am truly honored. I recognize and fully shoulder the responsibilities I have as the next commander of this great organization.”
McCreery said despite the new hand on the helm, he intended to keep the depot going in much the same direction as Mohan had been taking it.
“This is a change in command, not a change in direction,” said McCreery. “We’ll maintain our efficiencies and work tirelessly, but effectively, to increase our capabilities for the future.”