FORT IRWIN, Calif.- FORSCOM Commander Gen. James D. Thurman returned to a familiar place at the National Training Center Friday morning, a spot he spent countless hours during his time as time the NTC Operations Group Commander and the NTC's commanding general.

To his surprise the spot was named Thurman's Perch as the NTC Operations Group hosted a ceremony unveiling a plaque which will serve as a lasting reminder and testament to all the things Gen. Thurman has done to help Soldiers, not only at the National Training Center, but across the Army.

"I spent countless hours up here," Gen. Thurman said. "There's no greater honor that I've been given in my 35 years than this."

There was never a day during his time at the NTC he didn't go to work without a smile on his face, Gen. Thurman said, adding that it was because he knew he was going to be able to touch a Soldier.

The NTC's combat trainers (CTs) are the conscience of the Army as they hold Soldiers to the highest standards at the world's greatest training center for the world's best Army, Gen. Thurman said.

Fort Irwin/NTC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams said everyone gathered for the ceremony has had contact with Gen. Thurman in some fashion or another.

"(There is) no one more deserving, a trainer's trainer, a Soldier's Soldier, who has dedicated more than just his time out here in the desert, but also to training the Force throughout the Army," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "No one has had more impact on our generation than General Thurman."

This point will be a part of NTC lore and as the NTC moves back to full spectrum operations, combat trainers will be spending more time on ground similar to Thurman's Perch, Brig. Gen. Abrams said.

There is no greater honor for a combat trainer than to be recognized with a Place in the Desert, current NTC Operations Group Commander Col. Toby Green explained.

"In accordance with tradition a Place in the Desert or PID should be associated with the location where the dedicatee has spent considerable time or likes to relax," Col. Green told the senior combat trainer controllers gathered atop the hilltop overlooking the live fire area in the desert. "Probably no one, even if we combined all of us, has spent more time on this piece of ground than has Gen. Thurman."

Now that place will be forever known simply as Thurman's Perch.