Following an appointment to the rank of Lt. Gen., MacFarland relinquished command, which ended his 15-month tenure as the Commander of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss. His new rank and responsibility will see MacFarland depart Fort Bliss to take command of III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. MacFarland will now be responsible for the oversight of at least four Divisions, including the 1st Armored Division, and 16 Brigades and other units.
"I am truly humbled to have been confirmed for appointment to Lt. Gen. and assignment as the III Corps commander at Ft. Hood, Texas," said Maj. Gen. MacFarland. "It's truly been an honor and privilege to have commanded the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss for the past 15 months. This is a mission-focused and combat ready unit, and the premiere installation in the U.S. Army."
MacFarland, who assumed command from Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard in May of 2013, was officially promoted by the United States Senate on July 23. The announcement of his departure was made to the rest of the division shortly thereafter and preparations began for the transfer of power.
"Commanding this great post and great division has been the thrill of a lifetime," said MacFarland during his farewell address, "[My wife] Lynda and I have absolutely loved every day here in the El Paso area. El Paso, Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division have strong and longstanding ties to both of our lives and families, and we will miss this place very much."
Succeeding MacFarland as the commander of 1st Armored Division is Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Twitty. Having served at Fort Bliss twice previously, Twitty's return was welcomed by the formation and attendees.
"I am very happy, though, that someone we've known quite a while, and who is no stranger to Fort Bliss, is relieving me at the helm of Old Ironsides," said MacFarland. "Maj. Gen. Steph Twitty and his wife, Karen, share Lynda's and my affection for this wonderful post and community. I know they will continue to make Fort Bliss and 1st Armored Division special places in the US Army, and I look forward to being able to continue to watch from afar and to help where I can."
General Twitty's first assignment to Fort Bliss was as the Commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from August 2005 to March 2008. In March of 2012, Twitty returned to serve as the Deputy Commanding General of Operations for the 1st Armored Division until April of 2013. Twitty's most recent position was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for U.S. Army Forces Command.
"Priority one for the Division is to execute tough and realistic training. So that when our nation calls, we will be trained and ready to respond. Priority two, we will focus on building our current and future leaders. We have the best Noncommissioned Officer and Officer Corps in the world and we will work hard to insure that we continue to develop our leaders so that we maintain the advantage that our adversaries see", said Twitty during his welcoming address.
In his outgoing address, MacFarland expressed admiration for the accomplishments the 1st Armored Division team made during his time as commander.
"We tried hard to emphasize what was important, improve what we could, and make everyone feel a sense of pride and belonging. Combat Readiness has been at the center of everything we did as a division, and quality of life for our Soldiers and families was at the center of everything we did as an installation. Tasks like that are never completed, but we hope we made good progress on our watch. I'd like to thank everyone for all that you did in support of what we tried to accomplish. Nothing happens without a team effort, and you are an awesome team and as much as we will miss this place, we will miss you more."
General MacFarland will assume command of III Corps on Aug. 8.