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7th I.D. bolsters team on growing joint base

JBLM greets Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza during an arrival and honors ceremony outside I Corps Headquarters

Northwest Guardian

Published: 03:25PM September 6th, 2012
7th I.D. bolsters team on growing joint base

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, left, I Corps commanding general, and Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, incoming commanding general of 7th Inf. Div., take part in the official honors ceremony Aug. 30 in front of the I Corps Headquarters, Building 2025, on JBLM Lewis Main.

At an Aug. 30 ceremony at I Corps headquarters, Joint Base Lewis-McChord welcomed Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, the new commander of the soon reactivated 7th Infantry Division.

The division will be activated Oct. 4, when command and control become official. Meanwhile, Lanza and his staff members are already at work at division headquarters on JBLM Lewis North, coordinating with commanders and agencies at all levels, and making preparations and cultivating relationships important to accomplishing the division’s missions and goals.

The incoming division commander considers training, readiness and health of the force his chief priorities. Lanza said he is developing a plan to institute standards and discipline — while caring for the almost 17,000 Soldiers assigned to the 7th Inf. Div. and their Family members.

“We’re committed to being good teammates not only with (I) Corps, but to also act as great enablers here to help our brigades be successful,” Lanza said.

Division headquarters generally maintain accountability on large installations like Fort Bragg, N.C. and Fort Hood, Texas, along with materiel readiness and systems to build a trained, ready force. I Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Robert Brown said adding the division element to the JBLM command structure just makes sense.

“I don’t think any installation in the Army needs a division more than JBLM, and that’s because the installation has doubled in size over the last six years” Brown said. “We found the right leader at the right time.”

In the past, the management of JBLM brigades fell to I Corps, but Lanza asserted that a division headquarters becomes critical when the corps deploys.

“Having this division here allows that consistent command and control,” Lanza said.

Lanza will focus during the next few weeks on welcoming the rest of his division staff while preparing to achieve initial operating capability by Oct.1. He said he has started meeting with brigade commanders, Families, and rear detachments to assess their priorities.

Lanza’s said his major goals include building resiliency and enhancing personal and medical readiness. He is looking for ways to expand the program of embedding behavioral health and medical professionals in Army units at JBLM. The 17th Fires and the 555th Engineer brigades are already taking part in this initiative. Lanza said the idea is critical to easing the military stigma associated with seeking help.

“When you have medical professionals right there in formation standing next to you, it really helps break down that stigma for our soldiers to seek help. We’re working hard on breaking down that stigma so our soldiers feel comfortable,” Lanza said. “Coming forward as the division commander saying that I want to do this sets the tone. I want our Soldiers coming forward to seek help because we have the best programs and the best systems available for them. It’s a wellness issue, and if you get good wellness procedures up front, then you get great readiness issues on the other side.”

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Lanza holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy and a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University. He is a field artillery officer who most recently served as the Army’s chief of public affairs. Lanza has deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Guard and Operation Iraqi Freedom.