MG Walter Wojdakowski, outgoing Infantry Center commandant and Fort Benning commander, passed the guidon and colors symbolizing the transfer of command authority to MG Michael D. Barbero during a change of command ceremony Tuesday on York Field.
"Rest assured that as one great leader departs, another talented leader steps forward to take command," said GEN William S. Wallace, the reviewing officer.
Barbero comes to Fort Benning following a 16-month tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq as the CJ3 of Multi National Forces, Iraq (MNF-I).
He is a 1976 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Command and General Staff Course, the Advanced Military Studies Program and the Army War College.
Barbero has served in various tactical assignments in mechanized, light, and Air Assault Infantry units and has extensive experience as an operations officer at the battalion, brigade, national and multi-national level. He has also served as the executive assistant to the Commander of Joint Forces, Command/Supreme Commander Atlantic, III Corps Chief of Staff. Barbero is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and has served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Wallace credited Barbero's leadership, vision and resolve in helping shape the current and future coalition and Iraqi security force success in his prior duty assignment as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Operations and Director of Operations, CJ3, Multi-National Force, Iraq.
"I know Mike will carry forward his vast experience, as well as the best practices and insights of our Soldiers and leaders in combat and apply them to training and leadership development here," Wallace said. "Mike is a seasoned maneuver commander, warrior and professional leader - a Soldier who will continue the time-honored tradition of exceptional leadership here at Fort Benning, building upon the great foundation set by those who have gone before."
Following the ceremony, Barbero addressed the media.
"I don't think there is an installation in the Army that is doing as much to support the current Army mission as Fort Benning and also supporting and shaping the future Army ... the transition to the Maneuver Center of Excellence is quite a big step in the future of the Army," Barbero said.
Wojdakowski assumed command of Fort Benning in August 2005.
"Every leader in the Army wants to make a difference, but Walt is a different kind of leader, Wallace said. "He has made a difference with distinction everywhere he has served throughout his career.
"Walt's experience and strategic vision distinguished him as the ideal Infantryman and warrior. He successfully led change in this organization without compromising standards at a pivotal and defining time in Army history."
Wallace credited Wojdakowski with being directly responsible for the training and support of more than 200,000 Soldiers throughout his tenure.
"Major General Wojdakowski meshed technological advances with traditional core Infantrymen grit and skill to produce today's 21st century Army warriors prepared for both current and future fights," Wallace said. "It has been said, and I couldn't agree more, that Major General Wojdakowski's legacy here at Fort Benning can be summarized in one word - Soldiers. By looking at the mission of the Infantry Center in this way, Walt simplified a seemingly complex mission and dynamic challenges to boil it down to the very essence of success - Soldiers. Walt's extraordinary efforts and insightful leadership has taken the Infantry's readiness and relevance to a new level."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16