Three community leaders become

Dix honorary commanders



David Moore/ASA Fort Dix

Two community leaders from Burlington County and one from Mercer County with close ties to the Army and its respective reserve component forces pledged to a one-year tour of duty at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst, serving as honorary commanders for Army Support Activity Fort Dix, during a ceremony held outdoors near historic military vehicles at the U.S. Army Reserve Museum Sept. 25

Don Tretola, retired Army Col. John Gallagher, and retired Army Col. Al Squitieri are inducted as Honorary Commanders of Army Support Activity-Fort Dix by Col. Jeffrey Doll, ASA commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Whittaker, ASA command sergeant major, Sept. 25. Tretola, Gallagher, and Squitieri will serve as community ambassadors for the next year. (TSC/KMAR photo by Ed Mingin)

Don Tretola, retired Army Col. John Gallagher, and retired Army Col. Al Squitieri are inducted as Honorary Commanders of Army Support Activity-Fort Dix by Col. Jeffrey Doll, ASA commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Whittaker, ASA command sergeant major, Sept. 25. Tretola, Gallagher, and Squitieri will serve as community ambassadors for the next year. (TSC/KMAR photo by Ed Mingin)

ASA-Fort Dix Commander Col. Jeffrey Doll, center, stands with newly inducted ASA Honorary Commander Don Tretola, Joint Base Honorary Commander Kenneth Fitzpatrick, ASA Honorary Commander retired Army Col. Al Squitieri, and ASA Honorary Commander retired Army Col. John Gallagher after thier induction ceremony Sept. 25. The honorary commanders will serve as community ambassadors for the next year. (TSC/KMAR photo by Ed Mingin)
ASA-Fort Dix Commander Col. Jeffrey Doll, center, stands with newly inducted ASA Honorary Commander Don Tretola, Joint Base Honorary Commander Kenneth Fitzpatrick, ASA Honorary Commander retired Army Col. Al Squitieri, and ASA Honorary Commander retired Army Col. John Gallagher after thier induction ceremony Sept. 25. The honorary commanders will serve as community ambassadors for the next year. (TSC/KMAR photo by Ed Mingin)

The Honorary Commander’s Program mission is to educate key community leaders and the public about the varied missions performed by Army Support Activity Fort Dix that has community involvement as part of the activity’s team.

Two Army veterans, retired Col. Al Squitieri, a retired urologist physician and current member of its facilitated medical associations, and retired Army aviator Col. John Gallagher, program manager for Avenge Incorporated, both of the Burlington County, joined Don Tretola, of Mercer County, a senior vice president for public affairs and development program for the New Jersey State Vice Chairman for the Department of Defense Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, to take the Honorary Commander’s Oath.

The new honorary commanders took their oath in a military formation comprised of Soldiers from the Headquarters, Headquarter Company and 1110th Mobilization Support Battalion who support training, mobilization and demobilization at Dix for all military services standing at attention to witness the affair.

“It is an honor to have had the opportunity to induct you all into the program today-a program that allows those of us serving to continue to inform our external leaders of the Army story and mission,” Col. Jeffrey A. Doll, the ASA commander said.

“The program also allows us to maintain connections to external civilian leaders that enable the Army to execute its mission within a framework of an informed and supportive public,” Doll added.

Doll explained an area that required an increased understanding is the role of the Army on the joint base. With the implementation of the joint base many, many factors, such as connections to community leaders and installation support had changed to strictly mission.

“The Army’s roll may have changed but the Army’s commitment to ensuring Soldier readiness and sustaining a strategic training platform has not changed,” Doll said.

The commander reflected on the Dix history to make it a point to show the mission has been the same since the activitys’ beginning 96 years ago.

“What we know as Joint Base MDL, was originally in 1913 called Camp 13. Military installations created prior to and in support of expeditionary forces in World War I were initially numbered sequentially, and later the tradition of Naming installations after generals took hold, and Camp 13 became Camp Dix, in honor of Maj. General John Dix” explained Doll. The camp became a fort at the outbreak of World War II and it later became U.S. Army Training Center Fort Dix to support basic and advance individual training missions. In the 1990s it was renamed U.S. Garrison Fort Dix and most recently, as a result of base realignment and closing legislation, or BRAC, Dix was made an army support activity.

“While the naming conventions have not been consistent over the years, the missions that camp, fort and ASA Fort Dix has performed for the last 96 years has remained remarkably consistent,” Doll said.

The activity’s history has been training Soldier for deployments into combat theaters has spanned all U.S. overseas contingencies and includes World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. During the past 12 years, Dix has directly supported 200,000 Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers who have deployed for contingency operations around the world.

“Camp, Fort, ASA -call it what you want, the mission has always been preparing America’s sons and daughters to fight and win our nation’s war,” he said.

For the new honorary commanders, there was a reception in the museum to begin educating them on the role of the citizen-soldier. In the future, they will be given a detailed mission briefing so they understand the Dix mission and its impact on local communities in central New Jersey.