Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Assignment excites new commander

July 12, 2007

— From its earliest days more than 180 years ago, Fort Leavenworth has stood as a refuge and source of vital information during the country's westward expansion. Countless soldiers and civilians seeking safe passage through hostile territory saw this fort as the gateway for their journey to a better future. Soldiers garrisoned at Fort Leavenworth in the 1800s had an exciting and extremely important mission at a crucial point in our nation's history.

Today, Fort Leavenworth stands once more at a critical point in history and it is seen again, by many, as a gateway on a path to ensuring our Army is prepared for the future. Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Carl Vuono once said, "The path to a trained and ready Army runs through the gates of Fort Leavenworth." Our soldiers today have a responsibility that is equally important to that of their predecessors - to provide our war-fighters with every possible tool to ensure they are successful on the battlefield.

As I take the reins of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, I am humbled to know that I will be a part of such a tremendous organization and community. Having spent two years here attending the Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies, I know first hand of the patriotism, gracious hospitality and sense of community that are the hallmarks of this wonderful area on the west banks of the Missouri.

As some of you might know, I spent the last 13 months as the deputy chief of staff for Strategic Effects, Multi-National Force-Iraq, and before that I commanded the 82nd Airborne Division during wartime operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and humanitarian assistance missions in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These experiences have given me first-hand knowledge of the vitally important role that Fort Leavenworth plays in shaping leader development, providing collective training, developing battle command technologies and gathering and disseminating valuable lessons learned throughout our Army. What our soldiers are doing here is important, and it is making a difference where it counts the most as we continue this fight against terrorism.

Stephanie and I, and our family are extremely excited to be joining the Fort Leavenworth and neighboring community. There is an outstanding team of military and civilian professionals that combine to make Fort Leavenworth an invaluable engine of change that ensures that our nation's Army remains relevant and ready to face our current fight, and any future operations. As I embark on this new assignment, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, and to working closely with the Fort Leavenworth community, and our neighboring communities and their leadership. Together we will continue to ensure that Fort Leavenworth remains the best community in which to serve.

- Gen. William Caldwell will assume command of Fort Leavenworth in a ceremony today, July 12.

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