Army North welcomes new commanding general, bids farewell to former leader
By Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos, Army North PAOSeptember 10, 2013
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The Army tapped one of U.S. Army North's own to be the next to lead the command.
Lt. Gen. Perry Wiggins took command of Army North (Fifth Army) from Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV during a ceremony Sept. 4 in the historic Quadrangle and also assumed responsibility as the senior commander for Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis.
Caldwell served as the commanding general since Dec. 30, 2011.
Before Wiggins could assume command however, there was an important matter to perform -- his promotion to lieutenant general. The promotion ceremony, which took place just before the change of command, was presided over by Caldwell. It was Caldwell's last official duty as commanding general of Army North.
Caldwell said Wiggins' promotion gave him confidence in the Army's leadership.
"When people like you are selected -- Soldiers who are well-rounded, with true integrity, deep character, passion for the mission -- I feel confident that we will be better than we've ever been," said Caldwell.
Following the promotion ceremony, Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr., commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, presided over the change of command ceremony. As tradition dictates, Caldwell relinquished command by passing the unit's colors to Jacoby, who then passed the colors to Wiggins, thus bestowing him with the authority of command and formally recognizing him as the commanding general of Army North.
"I consider ourselves (he and his family) truly blessed to remain a part of the Army North team," Wiggins said. "We get to stay in San Antonio, Military City U.S.A., and we get to keep our great friends in the process. It just doesn't get any better than that."
As the commanding general of Army North, Wiggins will lead the Army Service Component Command, and as Northern Command's Joint Forces Land Component Command, in working with its partners in conducting Homeland Defense operations, theater security cooperation activities and civil support operations.
Jacoby expressed confidence in Wiggins' ability to command the organization dedicated to protecting the homeland.
"Lt. Gen. Wiggins is uniquely qualified to take the reins of command," he said. "The Army North team is truly 'the strength of the nation.' You will take this command to places it's never been."
Caldwell also touched on Wiggins' distinctive preparedness for command of Army North.
"He is an exceptional Soldier, very versed and knowledgeable on our homeland mission," said Caldwell.
Wiggins brings a tremendous amount of experience in assuming command of Army North. He served as the deputy commanding general on two occasions -- most recently from January of this year to the present and previously from April 2009 to October 2011.
"We got to test drive Perry around the parking lot for a while," joked Jacoby.
Wiggins said he felt truly humbled and privileged to serve under Caldwell as well as with numerous others during his time in the service.
"I want to thank you personally, but understand in my heart, and really in my whole soul, I appreciate everything that you've done for me throughout my career," Wiggins said. "I will always remember this day."
As he closed out his first official act as commanding general, Wiggins made one final promise to his Soldiers, the Fort Sam Houston community and to the nation: "I won't let you down."