WIESBADEN, Germany -- Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges accepted the U.S. Army Europe colors and command of USAREUR from Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. in a ceremony here, Nov. 5.
Prior to coming to USAREUR Hodges served for two years as commander of NATO's Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey.
The traditional ceremony included the inspection of a formation of Soldiers representing each unit under USAREUR's command by Gen. Phillip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander -- Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, alongside Campbell and USAREUR Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal.
To signify the passing of command, USAREUR Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. passed the USAREUR colors to Campbell, the outgoing commander, who in turn gave them to Breedlove for presentation to Hodges as the incoming commander.
Breedlove then addressed attendees, speaking about USAREUR's achievements under Campbell's command, thanking the general and his wife Ann for their support of the Army during a more than 36-year career, and forecasting growing success for USAREUR under Hodges' leadership.
"All great units require a carefully chosen leader to replace departing ones, and the Army has done us an incredible service, again, by selecting general Ben Hodges to assume the coveted reigns of USAREUR," Breedlove said. "Ben comes to us with an incredible reputation and proven multinational experience that will fit perfectly in this unit."
Following Breedlove's comments Campbell, whose retirement ceremony took place just before the change of command, addressed his Soldiers one last time. He praised their dedication to the USAREUR mission and assured them that their future is in good hands.
"I think the luckiest Soldier here today is my good friend Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. You are joining a great team of teams," said Campbell. "To the USAREUR teams: know you are gaining a great proven leader in Ben Hodges."
The ceremony was capped by Hodges, who addressed the assembled Soldiers for the first time as their new commanding general. He spoke of USAREUR's continual progress in building capable joint and combined forces in Europe, and said his three enduring priorities -- leader development, readiness and enabling partners and alliances -- will assure the continued success of EUCOM and those alliances.
"The alliance has steadfastly maintained its core purpose -- Article 5 [of the NATO Treaty, which outlines the concept of] collective defense -- an attack on one is an attack on all," Hodges said. "U.S. Army Europe will continue to be ready, reliable and forward stationed to underwrite that guarantee of collective defense. We've been here for 65 years doing just that, and we will continue to be prepared to win in a complex world."
A native of Quincy, Fla., Hodges graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the infantry. Following his first assignment in Germany as a lieutenant he went on to command infantry units at the company, battalion and brigade levels. He has also served in many joint and staff positions, including as a tactics instructor at the Army Infantry School; as chief of plans for the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; as an Army Congressional Liaison Officer; as task force senior observer-controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.; as Coalition/Joint-3 for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom; as chief of staff for the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.; as director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination cell on the joint staff; as chief of legislative liaison for the U.S. Army; as director of operations for Regional Command South in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom; and as aide-de-camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
About us: Headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, and with about 30,000 personnel at seven major garrisons in three countries, U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country Area of Responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.