Taking Command
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Brig. Gen. Eric P. Wendt took command of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Friday, May 30 during a ceremony at the JFK Plaza hosted by Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Wendt, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Korea, the theater Special Operations Command for the Korean Theater of Operations, is replacing Brig. Gen. David G. Fox, who is retiring after more than 34 years in the U.S. Army.

"Brig. Gen. Wendt is the right man to step up and take command of SWCS. He is an exceptionally well-rounded leader and uniquely qualified to command SWCS," said Cleveland, who added that SWCS is the most complex command within USASOC. SWCS is comprised of three groups, the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), the Special Warfare Education Group (Airborne) and the Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne). Additionally, it is home to the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute, the Noncommissioned Officers Institute and the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center.

"… [Eric] made substantial strides [in Korea] to improve our relationship with out Korean partners and to build the foundation for a multinational special operations forces approach to any impending problems on the Peninsula," said Cleveland. "Eric will, without a doubt, carry on SWCS's well-earned legacy of excellence; making better the initiatives we have underway."

Brig. Gen. Wendt holds a bachelor of arts from the University of California-Santa Barbara, as well as a master of arts from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

He has served as an active duty, Regular Army officer since 1986. He served for nearly five years as an Infantry officer, attended and was selected at the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course,

and graduated as Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Special Forces Qualification Course before

assignment to the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). Brig.Gen. Wendt then served for 21 years as a

Special Forces officer before becoming a General Officer. Before serving as a TSOC Commander, Wendt served in the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an ODA commander, company

commander, battalion commander and group commander. He has also served in a variety

of command and staff positions, including multiple operational and combat deployments with both SOF

and conventional forces. Since 9/11, Wendt has served as team chief for the Pacific Situational Assessment Team (PSAT) to Indonesia, in Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, in Operation Iraqi Freedom (two tours), and in Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan. Wendt served in the Pentagon from 2009-2011 on the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff as the Director for Special Operations Policy, and then as the Principal Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Prior to assuming command of SOCKOR, Brig. Gen. Wendt served in Afghanistan (2011-2012) as the sole Deputy Commanding General for the 13,500 troops from 17 countries in ISAF's Regional Command-North in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Brig. Gen. Wendt's awards and badges include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak-leaf

cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with two oak-leaf clusters, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the German Gold Cross of Honor (for combat service in Afghanistan), the Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation (for service in OEF-Philippines) and the Republic of Korea Order of Cheon Su Medal. Brig. Gen. Wendt has earned the Air Assault Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Korean and Thai Master Parachutist Badges, the Ranger Tab, the Special Forces Tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Wendt said taking command of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School is an "honor," noting that he was "thankful for the opportunity."

Wendt, whose remarks were brief, took a moment to praise the staff -- Soldiers and Civilians -- for their efforts to train an ever evolving force in defense of the nation, adding, "Together, we will travel the path that lies ahead."