842nd Transportation Battalion welcomes new commander to Port of Beaumont

In a traditional U.S. Army Change of Command Ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Brad Bane relinquished command of the 842nd Transportation Battalion to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Santillo at the Beaumont Event Centre on Wednesday, June 14.
Lt. Col. Bane has served as commander of the 842nd Transportation Battalion since June 9, 2015. Upon completion of his assignment with the 842nd, Bane will be reporting to the United States Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
“I am extremely thankful for the support from the Port of Beaumont and the entire Gulf Coast team throughout my tenure as the SDDC regional battalion commander,” Bane said. “Our mission cannot be accomplished without the partnership and support from our national strategic seaports, service providers, and most importantly, our dedicated longshore labor. In addition, I cannot say enough about the daily outpouring of support from the people of Southeast Texas. My wife and I have made lifelong friends while stationed here, and will always look back fondly on our time here in Beaumont.”
Incoming commander Lt. Col Donald Santillo’s military career includes assignments in Germany, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hawaii, Virginia, New York, and most recently, Kansas, where he served on the staff and faculty of the Command and General Staff College (CGSC).
“It’s great to come here to Beaumont,” Santillo told the Business Journal. “It’s a wonderful region steep in tradition with the Army. This port, out of all the ports on the Gulf Coast, is the busiest we have, so I’m looking forward to a big mission ahead of me and joining this great team at the 842nd.”
During his tenure with the CGSC, Santillo served as the executive officer to the chief of staff, operations officer at the School of Advanced Military Studies, and instructor in the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations at the Command and General Staff School.
Lt. Col Santillo’s military education includes the Ordinance Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Captain’s Career Course, the Combat Developments Course, the Command and General Staff Officer Course, the Support Operations Course, and the How the Army Runs Course. He holds a master’s degree in Military Arts and Science from CGSC. His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Service and Expeditionary medals and the Air Assault Badge. Santillo will serve as commander of the 842nd Battalion until June 2019.
Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames, who was in attendance, said an Army command change is always a great spectacle to witness.
“I’m really proud to be here today, and try to make every one of these,” Ames said. “I think the city of Beaumont and our citizens are very patriotic. They support our military, and they support our first responders. I think that’s evident, so we’re always happy to host the change of command, but especially in this beautiful facility. I’m so glad they made the decision to make the change and hold the event here, and on the Army’s birthday. Until you see one of these, you really don’t understand. It just makes you feel really good about what’s going on in our nation and in our city.”
The 842nd Transportation Battalion is a division of the United States Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. This command serves to deploy and redeploy military equipment overseas for combat, training and humanitarian efforts. Equipment that moves through the Port of Beaumont is sent around the world in support of U.S. troops. Equipment returning from abroad is sent to depots and forts to be refurbished and reset to meet future needs of the U.S. military. The Port of Beaumont has been utilized as the No. 1 strategic military port in the nation for more than 10 years.
“People don’t realize that,” Ames said. “This is a really big deal. They have a lot to do that supports our military everywhere. I don’t think a lot of people that live here realize how important our port is to the economy.”

Photo by Kevin King - Lt. Col. Donald Santillo receives command of the 842nd Transportation Battalion in a command change ceremony Wednesday, June 14, at the Event Centre in Beaumont.