Wiesbaden ceremony welcomes Lt. Gen. Campbell to USAREUR command
January 16, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - "It's great to be back in Germany," said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr. to reporters after formally assuming command of U.S. Army Europe.
Campbell accepted the command colors from Adm. James Stavridis, commander of the U.S. European Command, during a ceremony in the Wiesbaden Fitness Center Jan. 9.
"It's great to be joining this wonderful and storied USAREUR team -- USAREUR for decades has been our nation's defender of freedom forward," Campbell said.
Both EUCOM and USAREUR commanders thanked the many guests who attended, representing the close ties between the United States and European nations. Stavridis praised the "strong partnership and alliance" of the "ongoing transatlantic relationship."
He added that the joint training conducted in Europe is crucial to stability in the world.
"Wiesbaden: What a great place to take this command," said Stavridis, adding that Campbell would be the first USAREUR commander to serve here. "This will be a spectacular site for U.S. Army Europe."
EUCOM's senior leader pointed out that holding the assumption of command ceremony in "the shadow of the Gen. John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center" was especially poignant as a symbol of the decades of friendship and partnership between Europe and the United States.
Looking to the future, Stavridis charged USAREUR's leader to focus on three areas -- the post 2014 mission in Afghanistan, the continued alliance with Germany and fellow NATO partners, and emerging technologies.
"It really feels great to be back in Deutschland," said Campbell, who lived as a young captain in Mainz early in his military career. "It's a wonderful place to live," he added, saying that the host nation has embraced the U.S. Forces in Germany. "We can always depend on our host nation friends to be there for us … whether it is enjoying fests together, communities helping out with trips for families or just good will that you share with us all."
Campbell praised the ongoing military partnerships as well. "Our European partners, many of whom are represented here today, have stood side-by-side with us in many parts of the world for the last decade in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and the Balkans to name a few. These partnerships, partnerships grounded in trust, remain the cornerstone for U.S. engagement with the world," he said.
As the U.S. Army Europe continues to transform to meet future contingencies, with an expected reduction in U.S. Forces from about 40,000 to 30,000 within the next three to four years, Campbell explained to reporters after the ceremony, it is important the partnerships continue to thrive.
"Over the last decade we have spent a lot of time together training, fighting and learning from each other, and we can't afford to lose that edge as combat operations wind down. Building trust starts with training, where we keep that edge sharp at places like the Joint Multinational Training Command, the crown jewel of USAREUR," he said. "JMTC remains the world class training environment for coalition and multilateral exercises."
"Training with our allies and partners builds the trust that will carry us to victory on the battlefield," Campbell said.
Campbell, who took over as USAREUR's 38th commander in early December, last served as the commander of III Corps and Fort Hood in Texas. USAREUR's former commander, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, retired late last year.