One general says farewell, another takes over: FH honors both in change-of-command ceremony
December 8, 2010
By Amy Sunseri
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. --
After 36 years of duty and dedication to the Army, Maj. Gen. John Custer bid a final farewell Dec. 8 to the Fort Huachuca community during a change of command ceremony on Brown Parade Field.
Custer has been the commanding general of Fort Huachuca and the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence since June 29, 2007. During his remarks, Custer thanked numerous people and departments across the installation.
When looking back on his years of service, Custer's voice began to tremble.
"For the past 36 years, I have had the privilege of wearing the uniform of a Soldier in the United States Army. In that time I learned that this Army is much more than equipment and training and operations. It's about people! The best technology in the world is worthless without the dedication and trained Soldiers who make it work and the caring leaders who know how to motivate and inspire," said Custer.
He went on to state he will always remember being a part of a "world-class team of professionals," adding that he will always have the deepest admirations for the sacrifices our troops and their families give and will continue to give in the future.
Before welcoming Brig. Gen. Gregg Potter, incoming commander, Custer wiped a tear from his eye and thanked his best friend, his wife, Audrey.
"I simply say thank you for everything. Thanks for your love of country, of Soldiers and of me. I'm still trying to figure out why a woman of your talent would saddle herself with an albatross like me," Custer said.
During the ceremony, Audrey was awarded numerous awards for his selfless actions, duty and dedication throughout the years to the Army.
Custer relinquished the colors and his duties to Brig. Gen. Gregg Potter, incoming commander. Potter is currently dual-hatted as the vice director for intelligence (J2), Joint Staff, and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency's Afghanistan-Pakistan Task Force. Potter comes to Fort Huachuca with his wife, Veronica. The Potter's have one son, Sebastian, who is a junior at the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected to lead the Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca and to train the next generation of intelligence professionals. This is quite frankly the last thing Second Lieutenant Potter thought he would be doing when he was sitting in the Basic Officer's Course here.
"I see no more important duty than training intelligence professionals, many of whom will leave here and go directly to the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq," Potter told the troops while speaking at the podium.
Potter is a career Army military intelligence officer, with assignments in Korea, Germany, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C. He has been deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, Bosnia and Kosovo for Operation Joint Forge. Most recently he deployed to Haiti in support of Southern Command's earthquake relief operations.
Custer told Potter during the ceremony, "You have a great team here, and I know you will lead them to new and unimagined heights."
"I pledge to each and every one of you that I will work with you to build upon the great legacy that Major General Custer leaves and take it to the next level. I also look forward to being a part of the great community of Sierra Vista and working with the local leadership to maintain the strong bonds between the post and this great community," Potter said while ending his remarks.