HEIDELBERG, Germany -- United States Army Europe welcomed its 34th commanding general, Gen. Carter F. Ham, today during a ceremony on the Campbell Barracks parade field here.

Army Gen. John Craddock, commanding general of U.S. European Command, officiated at the ceremony.

"To Carter Ham, and Christi, congratulations, welcome aboard. I don't think there could have been a better choice or a more perfect fit for this job," Craddock said. "(General Ham) understands taking care of Soldiers and Families, the turbulence, the challenges, the sacrifice that we ask, and he has the credentials and experience to bring that to U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army."

Ham said his only regret as he assumed command was that his wife, Christi, wasn't present.

"Those of you who know her know that she is by far the better half of the Ham team, and I look forward to her arrival soon," Ham said.

Craddock and Ham each offered thanks to Lt. Gen Gary D. Speer, USAREUR deputy commanding general, for his service as acting commanding general after the previous USAREUR commander, Gen. David McKiernan, left Heidelberg in May to assume command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"I'd like to add my personal thanks to what General Craddock indicated and publicly acknowledge Lt. General Gary Speer, who has so eagerly led the USAREUR team over these past several months. As General Craddock mentioned, USAREUR hasn't missed a beat with Gary's firm hand at the helm," Ham said.

During his remarks, Ham said, "I believe that USAREUR is on the leading edge of transforming our military. That leading role brings with it some accompanying uncertainty and unpredictability. It's my job to work to remove some of that uncertainty."

He concluded, "I believe the Soldiers, civilians employees and Families of the United States Army Europe represent the very best of America, and I am truly honored to serve alongside them."

Ham's military career has included several previous USAREUR assignments, including duty as a platoon leader in Vicenza, Italy, a battalion command in Vilseck, and a senior observer/controller at what is now the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels The general's most recent assignment was at the Pentagon as director for operations, the Joint Staff.