VICENZA, Italy -- Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr. assumed command of U.S. Army Africa from Brig. Gen. Eugene J. LeBoeuf in a change of command ceremony held Aug. 2, at Hoekstra Field on Caserma Ederle.
Cloutier is the seventh general officer to command USARAF since the organization was established in 2008.
Marine Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the U.S. Africa Command commanding general presided over the ceremony, addressing the audience of U.S. Army Africa and Vicenza military community service members, civilian employees and invited guests, including partners from the Italian military and civilian communities.
In his remarks, Waldhauser expressed confidence that Cloutier will lead the men and women of USARAF to continued success.
"As you may know, General Cloutier served for the past two years as the AFRICOM chief of staff, and was my next door neighbor at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart," Waldhauser said. "I have seen first-hand his leadership skills, his professionalism and his ability to handle complex tasks simultaneously.
"Major General Cloutier is a proven and exemplary leader who will make significant contributions to USARAF. He is mindful of the challenges of the diverse missions and engagements across 53 African nations in a dynamic and ever-changing environment."
Waldhauser also praised LeBoeuf's accomplishments during his time as acting commanding general, citing the quality and success of USARAF missions, as well as strengthened communication and relationships with African and allied partners, State Department colleagues and other key audiences as reflections of LeBoeuf's leadership and strategic vision.
"Brigadier General LeBoeuf, the relationships you have built and sustained among our partners and multinational organizations will serve this command and U.S. efforts across Africa for years to come. You have postured us for success in implementing our new campaign plan and have done an outstanding job commanding U.S. Army Africa. You have made a difference."
Cloutier expressed gratitude for the warm reception he and his family have received from the Vicenza military community and from the local Italian community, as well as for the opportunity to continue his association with AFRICOM and its priorities on the African continent.
"In my previous assignment as the AFRICOM chief of staff, I gained a strong appreciation and respect for the work that U.S. Army Africa is doing," he said. "USARAF has a great reputation at AFRICOM and at the Department of the Army. That reputation is directly attributable to the efforts and hard work of General LeBoeuf and the entire USARAF team.
"I'm honored by the opportunity to lead this great organization, and I look forward to maintaining the momentum that has been established over the past decade by my predecessors. ... I look forward to helping write the next chapter in the USARAF story."
LeBoeuf, in his remarks, thanked Waldhauser for giving him the opportunity to lead USARAF.
"Sir, thank you for your leadership and mentorship, and for entrusting me with leading the men and women of U.S. Army Africa," he said. "This has been one of the greatest honors of my life."
LeBoeuf expressed appreciation to his family, the Italian community, State Department colleagues, Vicenza military community and his advisers and staff for their support, then addressed the members of USARAF directly.
"To the men and women of U.S. Army Africa: Thank you," he said. "Thank you for your service and professionalism. Thank you for everything you have done to support me as your acting commander. I'm sure everyone was a little apprehensive there at the beginning, me included. Every day you all demonstrate incredible expertise and commitment to the mission. I am proud of each and every one of you. Thank you again everyone for being here. It has truly been an honor serving with you and leading this great organization."