FORT HOOD, Texas -- Aca,!A"Wow, thatAca,!a,,cs a pretty tough act to follow,Aca,!A? Lt. Gen. Bob Cone said as he assumed command of III Corps and Fort Hood from Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch during a ceremony Tuesday.

It was unclear whether Cone meant following LynchAca,!a,,cs speech or his 15-month command.

The ceremony, which was moved from Sadowski Field into Abrams Gym because of rain, honored outgoing commander Lt. Gen. Rick LynchAca,!a,,cs achievements and set the stage for ConeAca,!a,,cs command and preparations to return the corps to Iraq.

U.S. Forces Command Commander Gen. Charles Campbell praised both commanders for their leadership and well-established reputations.

Campbell called Lynch a war-fighter who genuinely cares about Soldiers and their families.

Aca,!A"Rick Lynch loves Soldiers, then trains them hard,Aca,!A? the FORSCOM commander said. Aca,!A"He made sure Soldiers and their families are taken care of.Aca,!A?

Cone, Campbell said, is the right leader at the right time.

Aca,!A"Bob Cone is no stranger to Fort Hood, Texas,Aca,!A? Campbell said. Aca,!A"He has a well-established reputation Armywide as a tough trainer.Aca,!A?

Continued training for the mission is vital, as the corps is slated to deploy early next year.

Cone and his wife, Jill, are no strangers to Central Texas, as Cone served two previous assignments at Fort Hood.

Aca,!A"Jill and I are excited to bond and make friends here in Central Texas,Aca,!A? he said.

Thirty years ago, then 2nd Lt. Robert Cone was stationed at Fort Hood as a junior armor officer. Now a lieutenant general, Cone commands the post.

Shortly before taking command, Cone was promoted to his present rank before a crowd of well-wishers Tuesday morning in the III Corps headquarters. His wife, had the honors of affixing the third star to the generalAca,!a,,cs uniform. ConeAca,!a,,cs 82-year-old father, a World War II veteran, also attended the occasion.

At the promotion ceremony, Campbell praised Cone as having Aca,!A"a great sense of service.Aca,!A?

Cone shared the credit for his career success to date with several mentors, co-workers and fellow military academy buddies.

Aca,!A"I will continue to strive to be the best leader I can be,Aca,!A? Cone promised.

Aca,!A"This is indeed humbling,Aca,!A? Cone said. Aca,!A"Awards and promotions are never about us. And they are insignificant unless we understand the immense responsibilities that accompany them.Aca,!A?

The ceremony marked the fourth time Cone has followed Lynch in an assignment.

Aca,!A"HeAca,!a,,cs got the drive. HeAca,!a,,cs got the passion. He is a warfighter,Aca,!A? Lynch said about Cone.

As Fort Hood families
and the community said goodbye to Lynch and his wife, Sarah, and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola and his wife, Beth, Lynch said he was certain the transition would be seamless.

Aca,!A"The way ahead to me is clear,Aca,!A? the outgoing commander said. Aca,!A"I am optimistic.Aca,!A?

Lynch and Ciotola will soon head to Installation Management Command in Washington D.C. where they will work to grow many of Fort HoodAca,!a,,cs initiatives into Armywide programs.

During LynchAca,!a,,cs 15 months in command of the corps and Fort Hood, he opened the post to the community and placed an emphasis on family.

Despite the impending deployment, Cone said he was committed to maintaining the initiatives and programs established at the Great Place,
and taking them to the next level.

A proven trainer, Cone said he also is committed to Aca,!A"maintaining the best trained and most agile fighting force on the battlefield.Aca,!A?

Cone, who previously served as commander, Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan, brought Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Coleman on board with him as III Corps and Fort HoodAca,!a,,cs senior enlisted noncommissioned officer.

Coleman previously served with Cone in Afghanistan.

(Sentinel staff writer Andrew Evans contributed to this story.)

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