Gen. Lloyd Austin Takes Command at U.S. Central Command

Members of the joint U.S. Central Command stand at attention as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and CENTCOM commanders do the ceremonial "Passing of the Colors."

Members of the joint U.S. Central Command stand at attention as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and CENTCOM commanders do the ceremonial “Passing of the Colors.”

The man who led the troops into Iraq and then oversaw their withdrawal in 2011 is the new commander at U.S. Central Command based at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.

General Lloyd Austin, III, officially took control at CENTCOM Friday during a ceremony officiate by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

“With his calm demeanor, strategic vision, regional experience and knowledge, and proven judgment,” Hagel said, “I am confident General Austin is prepared to lead this command at a time of dramatic change, challenge, and turmoil in its area of responsibility.”

Central Command is responsible the “central area” of the globe including 20 countries from Afghanistan and Bahrain to Uzbekistan and Yemen.  Ambassadors from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates attended the formal ceremony.

Leaving command is U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis. He praised the soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines of the joint command who he said work seven days a week on continued deployments.

Part of the civilian and military crowd in attendance for the U.S. Central Command change of command ceremony in Hangar 3 at Tampa's MacDill AFB.

Part of the civilian and military crowd in attendance for the U.S. Central Command change of command ceremony in Hangar 3 at Tampa’s MacDill AFB.

“Mr. Secretary, Chairman (Gen. Marin Dempsey), I would gladly storm hell in the company of these troops who I haven’t the words sufficient to praise. So, I will not try. They know how strongly I believe in them, how strongly they have demonstrated to the world that free men and women can fight like the dickens.”

In a tribute to Mattis’ steady hand of leadership, several high ranking officers including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey attended the ceremony: Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Gen. Carl Mundy, Jr. (ret.), former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Gen. Joseph Hoar (ret.), former Commander U.S. CENTCOM; and Admiral Bill McCraven, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

And the U.S. Marine Corps band from Paris Island provided the transition music.

General Austin becomes the 14th commander of the regional command that has brought recognition and turned several of its former commanders into household names such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gen. Tommy Franks, Gen. Abazaid, and Gen. David Petraeus.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, III, commander of U.S. Central Command, passes the command flag to Command Sergeant Major Frank Grippe, his senior enlisted leader, during the USCENTCOM change of command ceremony presided over by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel here March 22. The passing of the flag marks the beginning of General Austin’s tour as commander of USCENTCOM. General Austin comes to MacDill Air Force Base following his tour as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melanie Bulow-Kelly)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, III, commander of U.S. Central Command, passes the command flag to Command Sergeant Major Frank Grippe, his senior enlisted leader, during the USCENTCOM change of command ceremony presided over by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel here March 22. The passing of the flag marks the beginning of General Austin’s tour as commander of USCENTCOM. General Austin comes to MacDill Air Force Base following his tour as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melanie Bulow-Kelly)

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One Response

  1. Both are commander, both warriors who have distinguished on war and military family. The passage of command by one to another constitute the perpetration and continuity of command. For ever they will be on the hearts of warriors for their acivity and their humanity, so to be fathers more than commanders, brothers between brothers. This is wath releive, finally, and this is military family.claudio alpaca

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