After 35 years of service, 14 years served as commander, Maj. Gen. William D. Frink handed the command of the 79th Sustainment Support Command to Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu during a ceremony at Joint Forces Training Base on Saturday.
Frink served as commander of the 79th since it began on Dec. 1, 2009. Named after the 79th Infantry Division that fought in both World Wars, the 79th SSC started out as a small organization with the goal of becoming validated by the Army Reserve. This happened in the first year, and within the second year, the 79th played a prominent role in preparing soldiers for worldwide deployment. The 79th SSC now has command of four Expeditionary Sustainment Commands.
Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley, the 32nd Chief of Army Reserve, arrived from Washington D.C., to turn the command over to Tatu and to welcome her and her family into the 79th SSC.
“I want to assure the 79th that Gen. Tatu is the right soldier and leader to take a great unit even better,” Talley said.
Tatu is now in charge of approximately 20,000 soldiers across 19 states, which makes up 20 percent of the Army Reserve. It is the second-largest functional command in the Army Reserve
Tatu graduated from the UCLS with a B.A in political science. From 2006 to 2008, she was deployed to Afghanistan as Commander of the 164th Corp Support Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In Tatu’s 30 years of service, she never imagined she would become Major General.
“If you aspire to that you lose sign of what is important. You have to focus on the mission at hand and care for the soldiers and the rewards will come. It isn’t about attaining rank,” Tatu said.
In light of the fact Tatu is the only woman on the West Coast to serve as commanding general, Talley stated, “We’re doing everything we can to make sure that women and minorities are represented across the ranks. Megan will be the first of many. Not because they’re women, but because they’re great leaders.”
Tatu is a mother of three sons and wife to Mike Tatu.
Frink will be retiring to his cattle ranch in Tennessee with his wife, Pranee “Winkie” Winkler.
In his farewell address he concluded by saying, “Now it is time to leave this command in the very able hand of Maj. Gen. Tatu, who I know will take you to new heights. And Winkie, it is time for you and I to pack up the truck and head back to Tennessee to once again see what spring looks like on the farm.”