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New commander, new challenges for historic reserve command

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As he received the unit flag of the Joint Transportation Reserve Unit from Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander, U. S. Transportation Command, Brig. Gen. David S. Post accepted command of the first Department of Defense-authorized "joint" reserve unit, from outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Harold L. Mitchell. The change of command ceremony took place Dec. 5 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

With command of the JTRU, Post accepted responsibility for its more than 200 members from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserve who support USTRANSCOM's worldwide mission.

Post's predecessor, Mitchell, had been the commander of the JTRU since 2006. After a career, which began with Army ROTC and included a stint as a Marine Corps pilot, Mitchell leaves the command to become the Deputy Inspector General of the Air Force.

Post is also an accomplished pilot and, most recently, the mobilization assistant to the Director of Operations, Air Mobility Command, one of USTRANSCOM's components.

One of the U.S. military's 10 combatant commands, USTRANSCOM provides common-user and commercial air, land, and sea transportation, terminal management, and aerial refueling to support the global deployment, employment, sustainment and redeployment of U.S. forces. As the Department of Defense Distribution Process Owner, USTRANSCOM directs and supervises the execution of the distribution system and develops and implements distribution process improvements.

Post said his past assignments have prepared him well for his new position at USTRANSCOM.

His first experience with the joint environment came when he was a first lieutenant. Post remembers that then he felt he was very fortunate to have been re-assigned from a flying squadron to a mobile airlift control element, or ALCE.

He recalled that this small, but highly effective group, managed, coordinated, and controlled Military Airlift Command (as AMC was known then) assets in support of deploying sister services.

His assignment with the ALCE provided him the opportunity to work closely with Marine, Navy, and Army units throughout the southwestern United States.

"That association allowed me to be a part of a team of eight dedicated airmen who, in short, successfully deployed the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force," explained Post, "which incidentally, turned out to be the largest West Coast deployment of U.S. forces to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Storm."

Post continued to hone his joint experience by working at the Air Force Expeditionary Center. He served as the Director of Mobility Forces-Air for AMC's Global Mobility Wargame 2008, or GLOMO, in preparation for the Unified Engagement exercise later that same year.

GLOMO 2008 was designed to help shape AMC's strategic planning through evaluation of air mobility and logistics capabilities 12 years in the future by analyzing and experimenting with different scenarios employing a combination of real and fictitious adversaries and allies. During the exercise, Post served as the DIRMOBFOR-Air, working with a USTRANSCOM Liaison Officer.

Post said "It gave me more insight of what USTRANSCOM does; however, I had a pretty good background through AMC."

During Unified Engagement 2008, Post also served as DIRMOBFOR-Air, this time working with a DIRMOBFOR-Surface and other elements of USTRANSCOM, thus enhancing his logistics and distribution knowledge further.

He continued to gain experience as vice commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing which was deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan.

"Deployment was very valuable experience that helps with this job," said Post. While deployed, Post was in charge of 1,000 Air Force personal who operated a transportation hub responsible for the transportation of U.S. and coalition troops and sustainment.

Post has his own vision of what makes a unit successful. He summarized his goals in three main areas. The goals he envision for the JTRU are "accomplishing the mission, the welfare of our people, who so ably perform the mission and of course--their safety."

"The mission is to provide USTRANSCOM with a fully trained and proficient force to meet war and peacetime requirements," said Post. "As for the members of the JTRU, it is my aim to foster and maintain an environment in which they can balance their civilian, family, and military obligations and all at the same time looking forward to coming to work." Post added, "The safety of our reservists is always at the top of my list."

About 56 percent of USTRANSCOM's total manpower is derived from the reserve component. This takes in not just the 200 or so members of the JTRU, but other reserve component units and individual reservists. This includes the Army and Air National Guard. That translates to more than 74,000 reserve component personnel.

As a result, the JTRU commander also wears another "hat" as the director of USTRANSCOM's Reserve Component Directorate (J9). The J9 advises the commander on all matters related to reserve component support to USTRANSCOM and its component commands and provides support to other USTRANSCOM directorates with trained, ready reserve component forces.

Post said he is focused on further developing the team environment. "I would have to say in my role as the commander of the JTRU and that of the J9, the continued blending of five different service cultures into one seamless team--a team that does its absolute best in working in a joint environment--will be a most important task," said Post. "As to that, I must express my thanks to my predecessor, General Mitchell for providing me a highly effective, trained and 'purpled' team."

Post said, "The challenge for me is to continue to build upon these already well grounded synergies and I look forward to doing exactly that."

Another challenge Post has to overcome is the impact the nation's current economic troubles have - and will continue to have - on military budgets. He said one of his most likely greatest challenges will be that of dealing with continued fiscal constraints and dwindling resources.

He explained, "As we have seen over the past few years, requirements continue to build without any corresponding increase in manpower, challenging us to do more with less. This means that we must continue to develop and implement innovative and more efficient methods of managing our training and readiness."

With all these challenges, Post foresees advantages in working in a joint environment. He stated "One benefit of a joint Reserve unit is that we can take the best practices of all five services and use them to our advantage in streamlining our operations and training programs."

He also considers himself to be "most fortunate to be a part of a unit comprised of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen with diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and differing civilian occupations--no doubt they too will be leveraged as we meet this challenge of discovering efficiencies."

Post, a former enlisted airman, holds a special appreciation for the enlist soldier. His former mentor was Senior Master Sgt. James Hummer of the California Air National Guard, whom he gives credit for preparing him to be an officer. "He was the epitome of a NCO," said Post. "He believed in preparing you for leadership challenges outside your comfort zone."

Post still believes in the leadership lessons that were taught to him by Hummer. Post stated that professional development is crucial to career success. Service members should be professionally developed through both military education and through their military duties. Post explained, "They also should take on extra responsibility and be placed in challenging positions, even when that is outside their comfort zone." He said that in this way, both officers and enlisted personnel will be better prepared to take on their next rank successfully.

Himself recently nominated by the President for promotion to major general, Post believes that professionals should "treat everyone with respect and appreciation." He still has a deep appreciation for the enlisted members.

"Having been there and done that, I know the challenges and the great things they do," Post said. "The enlisted personnel are like the engine room that keeps everything going." Because today's enlisted service members are better educated and better informed than in the past, Post feels that they bring "amazing value and skills to the table."

His own recent educational accomplishments include completing the Air War College in 2000 and earning his Master of Business Administration degree from Touro University International in 2006.

Hailing from southern California, Post is a captain with American Airlines in his civilian career.

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