By Ms. Susanne Kappler (Jackson)August 29, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Army Training Center and Fort Jackson welcomed its 46th commanding general with a ceremony Tuesday at Victory Field. Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker took command, replacing Brig. Gen. Peggy Combs, who will return to her previous role as commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Becker and his wife, Sherri, come to Fort Jackson from Suffolk, Va., where Becker served as assistant deputy director for joint training with the Joint Staff.
"Sherri and I are absolutely thrilled to join the Fort Jackson team. We look forward to serving the Columbia, S.C. area," Becker said. "This is the first time we've been to Columbia, but I would tell you in the 27 years I've been in the Army I've always heard that Columbia is the most supportive military-friendly community in all of the United States. And in the four days that we've been here, I'll tell you, I believe that to be true."
Becker said that while in command of the largest Initial Military Training installation in the Army he will emphasize taking groups of civilians who come from different backgrounds and bringing them together as one team, adhering to the Army Values.
"One thing I can be sure of when I see (people) wearing this uniform that says, 'U.S. Army' on their chest is that we share the same values," Becker said. "It's a little different from training how to shoot a weapon or do some other Soldier task, but it's very important to who we are as Soldiers. And it's important for how we represent ourselves to the American people, who put a lot of trust and confidence in us."
Becker said he was excited about the mission at Fort Jackson.
"I can't think of any greater responsibility other than leading Soldiers in combat than transforming volunteers into Soldiers and developing our future leaders," he said.
Another aspect Becker emphasized is continuing the strong partnership with the local community.
"I want to reach out and do as much as I can with the local community," he said. "I want to bring the local community on this installation, so it can see what we do, and just continue to build on what is already a great relationship."
Maj. Gen. Bradley May, TRADOC's deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training, said Becker was the right man for the job.
"I've known Brad for over 12 years, having served together at HRC many years ago and more recently in Iraq. Suffice to say, Fort Jackson could not be in better hands," May said.
He called Becker an "exceptional leader, trainer and standards bearer" and emphasized the importance of Fort Jackson to the Army.
"Over the next decade, the Army will go through a period of transition as we rebalance the force that will result in the Army of 2020," May said. "And whether at war or in the challenging period following war, Fort Jackson and this community will continue to play a vital role in providing trained and ready Soldiers to our Army -- Soldiers who bear the responsibility to defend this great nation and its ideals."
May also praised the service of Combs, who was Fort Jackson's interim commander for about three months.
"What you've accomplished, truly does defy description. With three days notice, you joined the ranks and haven't missed a beat. You graduated over 11,000 Basic Combat Training Soldiers during the summer surge period, despite the impacts of furlough and sequestration. Your renewed effort on the Army's priority of SHARP as well as the Ready and Resilient Campaign continues to pay dividends for this installation," May said. "While your stay was short, your impact on our Army will be felt for years to come."
Combs said in her farewell remarks that although her time on Fort Jackson was short, it will leave a lasting impact on her.
"You all have left a permanent impact on my heart. I thank you for your professionalism, for the inspiration that you've given me to go back to Fort Leonard Wood -- where I am also in charge of Basic Combat Training. So, I am your partner in Basic Combat Training, and you've inspired me to step up the game at Fort Leonard Wood a little bit."
In addition to his service with the Joint Staff, some of Becker's other notable assignments include deputy commanding general (support) for the 25th Infantry Division in Iraq and Hawaii; chief of the Commander's Initiatives Group in Iraq; special assistant to the commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea/ Eighth United States Army, Korea; and commander of the 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment, Eighth United States Army, Korea.