COSCOM CSM assigned to USAMC

Story by Pfc. Fabian Ortega
Photo by Spc. James J. Truitt
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The 13th Corps Support Command's Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel K. Elder, was recently selected to become the 10th Command Sergeant Major for the US Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Elder, who has been the command sergeant major of the 13th COSCOM since March 2003, was appointed to the USAMC, one of the 17 major commands in the Army and only one of 12 command sergeant majors to serve for a commander of four-star rank. He is slated to assume duties in July.

Elder and his family were joyous when they received a phone call with the news that he had been selected as the new USAMC command sergeant major.

"Just being nominated for the opportunity to serve with the US Army Materiel Command is an honor in itself," said Elder. "I was one of many great Soldiers selected to interview with the commanding general. He then called me with the news that I had been selected. Both my family and I were excited by the news," he said.

"But with that comes the realization we have to leave our family here at the COSCOM."

Elder's tenure as command sergeant major of the 13th COSCOM was one of choice, one he and his wife of 22 years, Gloria, along with their two daughters, Danielle and Courtney, made together.

"It was a great opportunity for us as a family to come to a great place, the great place, here at Fort Hood," said Elder. " We volunteered to serve here when the previous commander, Brigadier General Mike Lenears, interviewed and selected me for this assignment."

It is hard to move on when a bond has been formed with the COSCOM, the leadership, and the Soldiers after almost a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, said Elder.

"It's a bitter sweet day when it's time to move on."

"When I arrived at the COSCOM in March 2003, the war in Iraq was just beginning. I had a sudden sadness because many of the units in the COSCOM were deploying without us," said Elder. "I came in and

Soldiers were wearing desert camouflage uniforms, had their gear and war faces on. They were going to liberate the country of Iraq and we knew there were going to be challenging days ahead," he said.

One of Elder's initial goals for the COSCOM was to prepare Soldiers for the eventuality that the nation would call and the COSCOM would have to do its part in the ongoing war, said Elder.

"I personally took a focus on what we could do to prepare Soldiers. We began to focus on preparation for deployments, on reception staging, onward movement, and on integration of Soldiers to COSCOM," said Elder. "We wanted to take tactics and techniques gathered from sharing lessons learned and apply them to our training to make it more realistic, current and relevant to the operations that were going on in Iraq," he said.

In Jan. 2004, a transfer of authority between 3rd COSCOM and 13th COSCOM took place in Iraq, and the 13th COSCOM assumed responsibilities of all logistics in support of the Multinational Corps in Iraq.

As Soldiers were engaged with the Army's ongoing operations, Elder, along with staff members and leaders, ensured Soldiers of the 13th COSCOM received the proper equipment and training that would be needed to serve a tour of duty in Iraq.

"The fact we deployed the Corps Distribution Command from Fort Hood and had no combat deaths is a small sense of accomplishment," he said.

Although that's not to say the COSCOM did not suffer casualties or deaths.

"There were 45 heroes who lost their lives and did not come back to their families. There were also hundreds of Soldiers who were injured and wounded doing what their nation asked of them, supporting the Multinational Corps," said Elder.

"A COSCOM's basic purpose is to re-supply and sustain the forces, and the 13th COSCOM did that well," said Elder.

"We did not leave the (Multinational Corps) wanting. When they needed fuel, we gave them fuel. No tank, humvee or truck ever ran out of gas because 13th COSCOM failed to provide," said Elder.

"There was not a Soldier, Airman or Marine who went hungry because the 13th COSCOM failed a mission to get them their chow. I believe every gun had ammunition so the forces were capable to fight when they were needed," he said.

As July nears and Elder prepares to assume duties in his next assignment, he remains grateful for all the challenges and opportunities presented by the Army and his leaders before him, he said. As a career combat service support Soldier who grew up in the motor pool, Elder feels he has lived the old army slogan "be all you can be".

"As I look where I came from, the challenges and opportunities presented to me, to be able to progress to one of the top enlisted Soldiers in the Army, wow what a dream come true," said Elder. "You hear about those who come from humble origins and make something of themselves, the Army has been a great place for me to do that. I like to believe it was only through the labors and the toils and struggles of my leaders, people who have given me opportunities at every turn," he said.

"Without the support of great Army leaders and a strong military family who have all been there for me, I couldn't help but be successful," he said.

"I hope to believe, as historians look back on the COSCOM's operations (in Iraq), they will say by all accounts the COSCOM was successful. Hopefully we set the bar high and set high standards for others to follow," said Elder.

"If my mark serving with the 13th COSCOM and the great Soldiers of this organization was the dedicated support we provided to Soldiers, and I was a part of that, then let that be our legacy."

 

Sgt Maj Daniel K Elder
The 13th Corps Support Command's Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel K. Elder