Reins of 2d FSSG Set to Pass

10 Jul 2001 | Cpl. Mike Vrabel

A veteran of Operation Just Cause in Panama is scheduled to assume command of 2nd Force Service Support Group from Brig. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson Jr. in a 6 p.m. ceremony Friday behind the FSSG headquarters.

Dickerson, who is slated to become the assistant deputy commandant for logistics plans, policy and strategic mobility, will relinquish command of the group to Brig. Gen. (select) Michael R. Lehnert, who returns to take charge of a unit just miles from his birth place, Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.

After graduating from Bryant College in 1973, Dickerson was commissioned and served as the supply officer for 2nd Medical Battalion and 2nd Shore Party Battalion. He then transferred to Okinawa, and was assigned as the assistant 3rd Marine Division supply officer.

Dickerson returned to Camp Lejeune as the operation officer for 2nd Supply Bn., and later as the operations officer of Brigade Service Support Group-6.

The Richmond, Va., native again went overseas, this time to serve as logistics operations officer for Combined Forces Command, Seoul, Korea.  He returned stateside in 1989 serving as the deputy logistics assistant chief of staff for the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade, a tour that also took him to Southwest Asia for Operation Desert Storm.

In 1993, Dickerson assumed command of Headquarters and Service Bn., and later took charge of Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools at Camp Johnson. In 1998, he was named 2nd FSSG chief of staff, a position he held until taking command of the group in 1999.

During his two years at FSSG, Dickerson admitted that one of the biggest aspects of Camp Lejeune he will miss is the sense of family among local civilians and military.

"It's such a tight knit community here," said the general. "I saw it everyday when I was commander out at Camp Johnson with the Beirut Memorial."

His involvement in the community was especially prevalent after Hurricane Floyd turned much of Eastern North Carolina into a flooded disaster area. Dickerson's Marines and sailors pitched in to help during recovery and rebuilding, and their accomplishments were a source of pride for the general.

"We historically help other nations recover after natural disasters or provide humanitarian assistance to those in need," he said. "It is especially gratifying when you are able to assist your neighbors in the local community."
He also said he will miss the individual Marines and sailors of the group.

"They are the finest bunch I have ever worked with," explained Dickerson. "They are loyal and dedicated."

During his tenure here, Dickerson said one of his biggest accomplishments was to get the group out of a garrison-based mindset, and progress toward a combat-ready force.

"I took FSSG to the field six times in the last two years. It had been a long time since they had been in the field." he said.

Dickerson's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with gold star.

Taking charge of 2nd FSSG is Lehnert, a son of a former Marine. After graduating from Central Michigan University in 1973 and completing The Basic School, he transferred to Camp Lejeune where he served as the logistics officer of headquarters and Service Bn., 2nd FSSG.

He then assumed duties as operations officer of 9th Engineer Support Bn., before holding the same position at Marine Barracks, Subic Bay. Returning stateside, he served as the executive officer of Recruiting Station San Antonio.

In 1996, Lehnert arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point , where he served as the commander of Marine Wing Support Group-27. From there, he deployed to Panama as the Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Panama, overseeing the final turnover of the canal and remaining military bases.

He most currently served as the assistant deputy commandant for installations and logistics facilities.

Dickerson, who has known Lehnert since 1973, had words of commendation for his successor.

"He's an engineer by trade, and a good engineer," said Dickerson.

Lehnert's personal awards include the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.