III Corps commander leaves Hood; set to take reins at USAREUR
November 29, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Nov. 29, 2012) -- Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. relinquished command of III Corps and Fort Hood to Brig. Gen. James Richardson during a ceremony at the flagpole outside III Corps Headquarters here, Nov. 28.
Campbell is heading to Germany to assume command of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army in Heidelberg, Germany.
Campbell's move comes 19 months after he assumed command of the corps in April 2011 and less than five months before its expected deployment to Afghanistan.
Gen. David Rodriguez, commanding general, Forces Command, lauded Campbell as a warrior trainer who cared deeply about Soldiers and their Families.
"Don has commanded this corps and Fort Hood magnificently with the skill, imagination, resourcefulness and determination leavened with the care of Soldiers and concerns for families that makes him the special leader that he is," Rodriguez said. "Gen. Campbell is first and foremost a war fighter, a true warrior, who is devoted to Soldiers and trains them hard to ensure they'll succeed under the most challenging conditions."
Campbell's leadership at Fort Hood kept the focus on the team and ensuring that team was trained to standard, the FORSCOM commander said.
"He made certain that every leader, unit and Soldier was trained and met every standard because of putting them in harm's way," Rodriguez said. "He did this masterfully through a simple, yet profound philosophy that, no matter what the activity, it must reinforce the corps' primary mission -- to prepare those Soldiers, leaders and units to fight and win our nation's wars."
The FORSCOM commander reviewed many of Campbell's accomplishments at Fort Hood, notably conducting the Army's first multimedia town hall that combined a television broadcast with social media and two corps-level training exercises.
The second of those exercises, Unified Land Operations for Corps War Fighter, marked a big shift for how the Army trains at the corps level, something they haven't done in many years, Rodriguez said.
"The War Fighter exercise is a critical component to the Army's regionally aligned force concept and will help prepare other Army corps headquarters for their training events and future region alignment, and (Campbell) will be on the receiving end of that effort when he takes over USAREUR," the FORSCOM general added.
For Campbell and his wife, Ann, the day was bittersweet.
The general said he was excited about the challenges ahead but "being Phantom 6 and serving here at III Corps and Fort Hood will always be a benchmark for Ann and I."
He thanked the community for their support and noted that the Great Place is great because of the Soldiers, families, civilians and veterans that support and sustain it.
"There is no better place in the Army and our time here at Fort Hood has truly been special," Campbell said.
Looking back, the general was pleased with the changes and progress he has seen on the installation.
"Nineteen months ago, when I took command of III Corps and Fort Hood, I had a long list of goals. Now, in what seems an impossibly short time, I look back on the incredible things we have all accomplished together and I am awed," Campbell said.
He noted the teamwork and combined efforts he saw at Fort Hood and how that team concept extends beyond training and combat to every aspect of Soldiers' lives.
"We are at the best when we work together as part of a team. We are at the best when we show each other the dignity and respect we all want and deserve," Campbell said. "We do a good job of watching out for one another in theater and we understand there is an enemy we all must work together against."
The general, a staunch advocate for Soldiers getting help and preventing suicide, urged Soldiers to lean on each other.
"We all understand that death in war is an equal opportunity employer but never forget that there are threats to life and limb right here at home that are every bit as real, and again, just like in a war zone, it is your battle buddy that often will make the difference between life and death," Campbell said. "Watch out for one another."
Two days earlier, Nov. 26, Campbell hosted area media for the second and final media luncheon of his command at Fort Hood. During that luncheon, the general looked back on his time at Fort Hood, noting many of the successes -- as well as the challenges -- that remain.
Campbell acknowledged the "team of teams" working together for the betterment of Fort Hood and the close relationship with 26 area communities.
"I will miss the people and the friendships," he said, as well as the "ability to work with the communities outside the gates."
The general also spoke about his, and the Army's, biggest challenge, Soldier suicides.
"We've done a lot to fight the stigma (about getting help), but one suicide is too many," Campbell said. "I always wonder what I could have done better. It's the most challenging thing I've faced in the Army."
Campbell said work will continue on the ongoing efforts to combat the stigma and urge Soldiers to seek help for invisible wounds and behavioral health concerns, as well as the aggressive fight to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence.
"This is a long fight," the general said.
He also talked about the road ahead for himself in Germany, as well as the corps, which is in the process of heading to Germany for a pre-deployment joint exercise.
III Corps is expected to deploy to Afghanistan next year as part of the International Joint Command, International Security Assistance Force, to provide day-to-day operational command.
Campbell will be part of that training, but from a different angle as he takes the reins in Germany at USAREUR.
Leaving III Corps and Fort Hood will be difficult, he said.
"I am truly excited to take on challenges ahead, and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to continue to serve Soldiers," Campbell said. "It has been a great ride. Ann and I will always carry the Great Place in our hearts."
Looking ahead, the general is eager for his next assignment.
"This is a dynamic time for our Army, and USAREUR is right in the middle of it," Campbell said.
Richardson, who previously served as deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, will serve as interim commanding general, pending Maj. Gen. Mark Milley's confirmation from the Senate to lead III Corps and Fort Hood, and his promotion to lieutenant general.
Milley is currently serving as commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum in New York.