ATLANTA - Lt. Gen. J. Michael Bednarek became the 36th commander for First Army April 6, in a ceremony at Fort McPherson's Hedekin Field.

Bednarek took over for the retiring Lt. Gen. Thomas G. Miller, who began his command at First Army January 11, 2008.

Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of the United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga., passed the First Army colors from Miller to Bednarek on the historical parade field.

Bednarek was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Andrews Jr., who assumed First Army's top enlisted responsibilities October 12, 2010.

Bednarek's previous assignment was as First Army Division East commanding general, based at Fort George G. Meade, Md., which he assumed in June 2008. He now joins the ranks of several notable First Army commanders from the past, to include John J. Pershing, 1918, Omar N. Bradley, 1944, and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Russel L. Honore (2004-2008).

Since September 11, 2001, First Army's mission to mobilize, train and deploy National Guard and Reserve Soldiers in support of the combatant commanders has greatly impacted First Army trainers and their families, said Bednarek.

"It's because of the courage, commitment and the bond of trust that we have for each other and for the organization that has led to and will continue our success," said Bednarek.

Bednarek's assignment here will soon take him and the Soldiers assigned to the Headquarters, First Army, to Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois. The unit is currently preparing to vacate its facilities at Fort Gillem, Ga., and move north this summer as part of the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission's recommendation to the Department of Defense, which in turn agreed to the recommendation, following approval by Congress.