FORT BENNING GA - Col. Thomas James replaced Brig. Gen. Ted Martin as the commandant of the U.S. Army Armor School June 28 in a change of command ceremony at the Benning Conference Center.

“We are fortunate that when one great leader moves on, another talented and dedicated Army Family team steps up,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of Fort Benning and reviewing officer. “Col. Tom James joins us from our sister installation just to the east, Fort Stewart.”

James spent a total of five years at Fort Stewart, Ga., as the commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade, and most recently, as the assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division.

“Chelle and I are honored to represent the Armor community and serve the Maneuver Center of Excellence team,” James said. “We look forward to joining in the efforts to build the world’s premier academy of mounted warfare.”

Martin said if he could have handpicked the team to replace him, it would have been James and his wife, Chelle.

“Tom and I go back to 1997, but our real friendship developed as we served together as division G3s in Operation Iraqi Freedom I,” Martin said. “Tom as the G3 for Gen. (Martin) Dempsey’s 1st Armor Division in Baghdad, and me as the G3 for Gen. (Raymond) Odierno’s 4th Infantry Division in North-Central Iraq.”

Under Martin’s command, the Armor School developed a unique Armor and Cavalry identity at Fort Benning due to external engagement and effective personal leadership, Brown said.

“During the transition, Ted set the conditions for effective and efficient Armor School training at Fort Benning through comprehensive POI (program of instruction) reviews,” Martin said. “Effectively balancing POI training requirements with available resources and the constraints and limitations of ranges and training areas.”

Brown said Martin also organized the first Maneuver Center Reconnaissance Summit in April. It was regarded as the most organized and productive Recon Summit ever by participants and retired senior leaders, he said.

Martin said the Armor School move to Fort Benning was like a nuclear reaction. The 2005 BRAC commission set forth forces that continue to collide at Fort Benning as the Armor School completes its move.

“We have achieved irreversible momentum and will shortly reach full operating capability,” he said.

Martin said Soldiers and their families, as well as tanks and other equipment, are still moving and Armor School courses are already underway.

“Tom, Stephanie and I wish you and Chelle all the best as you embark on what I believe will be the best job you will ever have,” he said.

Martin’s next assignment is as the commandant of cadets at the U.S Military Academy at West Point.