Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fort welcomes new commander

July 19, 2007

The new commander at Fort Leavenworth, fresh off a year in Iraq, said progress was being made in the war-torn country.

After a ceremony Thursday honoring him as the new commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV spoke about his year in Iraq.

"There is not a quick solution to the situation in Iraq and it's going to take time. But the questions are, 'Is it moving forward and is progress being made and what is the long term goal we want to achieve over there?'"

He said since arriving in Iraq in May 2006, he has seen multinational troops and Iraqi forces begin to work together toward reconciliation. He said that because the Iraq government was new and apprehensive, it was going to take time to get on its feet. But he added there still was a visible difference in the growth and commitment of the country.

Caldwell, a graduate of the fort's Command and General Staff College, has made his return to take command of Fort Leavenworth and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's Combined Arms Center.

Caldwell takes over the position, after his predecessor, Gen. David Petraeus, became the senior U.S. commander in Iraq.

Caldwell was welcomed with a ceremony in front of the post's Lewis and Clark Center. Gen. William S. Wallace, who hosted the event, said it was his honor to welcome Caldwell, whom he described as deserving and a "great warrior."

"Once again our great nation calls on him," Wallace said. "This time to led the U.S. Combined Arms Center in the most extraordinary and challenging times in our nation's history. Those of us that know Bill know he's the right man for the job."

Wallace went on to say the fort was lucky to have Caldwell join it during such an "interesting time" and that his commitment and energy would lead to great opportunities for the post.

"He's been on the ground in Iraq and he understands fully the business of leading and training soldiers in the complexities of today's battlefields and the demanding challenges ahead," Wallace said. "Most importantly, Bill Caldwell understands that leading soldiers is a privilege, a sacred trust."

As the commandant of the staff college, Caldwell said he was going to work on helping student officers develop a balance. He said he wanted the students to know that the country has asked a lot from them, but with that understanding, Caldwell wants to develop a balance of perspective to move forward and build the Army back together.

Helping in that endeavor, he said, is the dedication shown daily by every young man and woman on the battlefields.

While serving in Iraq, he said whenever he wanted to be re-energized he would visit the troops and get a sense of their honor and fulfillment of what is being accomplished.

"They are truly dedicated and committed beyond anything you could absolutely imagine," Caldwell said. "Each and every day they're out there, they're lacing up their boots, putting on that body armor, picking up that rifle and moving out on point. They do it in a very educated and selfless manner, asking for nothing but to serve others."

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