7th CSC street dedication ceremony honors one of its own

Story and photos by Lt. Col. Michele R. Sutak
7th Civil Support Command Public Affairs

A Soldier’s name will now live on, and not just in spirit, thanks to the 7th Civil Support Command who honored the life of Lt. Col. Douglas Yocum, a native of Burlington County, N.J., at a street dedication ceremony April 2 on Daenner Kaserne. 

Soldiers, friends and families gathered on Yocum Way in front of the 7th CSC headquarters as everyone paid tribute to Colonel Yocum, who died Feb. 4, 2010, in a Philadelphia hospital following an illness. 

Colonel Yocum, who lived to be 45 years old, was born into a military family, and it was the family that he came to embrace. The Army family would become the defining point of his career and life. Colonel Yocum is a third generation military lawyer.  His grandfather was an Army judge advocate during and after World War II, and his father was an Air Force judge advocate. 

As an Army Reserve Soldier, he served in a variety of positions with the 7th Army Reserve Command and the 154th Legal Service Office in Schwetzingen, Germany; the Southern European Task Force Augmentation Unit in Longare, Italy; and the 7th CSC in Kaiserslautern. In his civilian capacity, he served as a senior civilian attorney for the SETAF office of the staff judge advocate in Vicenza, Italy.  
“We have long wished to find a fitting way to recognize Doug’s service and the tremendous impact he had on this unit and the United States
Army,” said Brig. Gen. Jimmie Jaye Wells, commanding general of the 7th CSC and presiding officer of the ceremony.

“This street that runs in front of our headquarters will be forever called Yocum Way,” General Wells said. “Doug will always be with us, and we will be reminded of him and the selfless service he rendered to his country.”

Colonel Yocum was diagnosed with an illness, and it took a turn for the worse. The command immediately mobilized Reserve Soldiers on three continents to medically retire him and ensure his family obtained the benefits of his 19 years of service to the Army. This process normally takes months and was complete in less than 48 hours.  

“From the onset of Doug’s illness right up through today, there has been no obstacle Doug’s Army family hasn’t been able to overcome, no service they wouldn’t render, no support they haven’t provided,” said his brother, Air Force Col. Jeffrey Yocum, the vice commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing, Royal Air Force, Alconbury, England. “No matter the request, the only answer we’ve ever received is ‘Yes,’ and then some team of professionals has gone about the business of getting it done as quickly as possible.”  

This is what the Army’s motto of “Army Strong” is all about, General Wells said.
“We dedicate Yocum Way not in sadness that such a man died, but rather, to celebrate that such a man lived,” he said.

Colonel Yocum is survived by his wife, Yumiko; a daughter, Naomi; a son, Tyler; his mother, Phyllis; a sister, Jocelyn DiChiara; and two brothers, Jeffrey and Steven Yocum.