When Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. took command of Fort Hood in April 2011, he said he was pleasantly shocked and surprised to learn he would take the reins of the installation where he served as a brigade commander with the 4th Infantry Division.
As he relinquished command Wednesday morning, Campbell described Fort Hood as the best place in the Army.
Fort Hood, he said, “is the finest military installation I’ve seen in 34 years of serving.”
The weather and the wide open spaces are nice, Campbell said, but the people are what make the Great Place great.
“No matter what task at hand, the issued response has always been the same: ‘What else can we do?’” Campbell said during his remarks at a ceremony held at the flagpole outside III Corps Headquarters.
Campbell served 19 months as the III Corps and Fort Hood commander. In July, Congress voted for the three-star general to maintain his rank and move to Germany to serve as the commander of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army.
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C., hosted the relinquishing-of-command ceremony and described Campbell as an imaginative, skilled commander.
“General Campbell is first and foremost a warfighter,” he said. “He has the ability to build a high-performance team. ... He harnesses the strengths of others.”
“He’s also an innovator,” Rodriguez said, noting the multimedia town halls and corps training exercises Campbell hosted during his tenure.
The III Corps Warfighter exercise, held in June, was the first war game of its kind conducted in the Army in more than 10 years.
“Don will be the first person to tell you we’re not successful in waging war because of tools and weapons,” Rodriguez said. “It’s the people on the ground. ... Soldiers are the reason for our successes.”
Campbell described leadership as a privilege, and said one must understand that to excel in the Army.
“The ability to stand in front of a formation of American soldiers is a privilege given to you by the American people,” he said. “As leaders, we must work constantly ... to measure up to the trust given to us.”
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama nominated Maj. Gen. Mark Milley for promotion to lieutenant general and to command III Corps and Fort Hood.
Milley is currently serving as commander of 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, N.Y., and his arrival to Fort Hood is pending Congressional approval.
Jessica Sandlin, a spokeswoman for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the senator hopes Milley’s confirmation will come up before the end of the year and plans to ask the Senate Armed Services Committee to expedite it.
Until Milley is confirmed, Brig. Gen. James M. Richardson will serve as interim commander. Richardson accepted command during Wednesday’s ceremony. Before the event, he served as deputy commander of III Corps and Fort Hood and will continue in that role once a three-star commander is placed.
During a media event Monday, Campbell said the quick action of the ceremony came about when the Army chief of staff called last week to ask him to head over to Europe.
Maj. Gen. James C. Booze became the acting commander of Army Europe earlier this month.
He replaced Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who retired during a ceremony Nov. 3 at West Point, according to Stars and Stripes.
“Fort Hood is left in capable hands,” Rodriguez said. “It will not skip a beat with General Richardson leading the way.”