Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr. formally assumed command of U.S. Army Europe in a ceremony on U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Clay Kaserne Jan. 9.
Adm. James Stavridis, commander of the U.S. European Command, gave the keynote address at the ceremony. The admiral said Campbell and his wife Ann are perfect for USAREUR and their return to duty in Germany and the move of USAREUR’s headquarters to Wiesbaden symbolize the U.S. commitment to Europe and mark the beginning of a new era for USAREUR.
Stavridis quoted President Obama, who called the NATO alliance “the cornerstone of American engagement with the world,” and noted that USAREUR Soldiers are deployed side by side with European partner forces across Europe and in Afghanistan.
He highlighted the worth of the combined training USAREUR conducts routinely with those forces at its training sites in Germany and elsewhere.
Stavridis concluded by speaking directly to the new USAREUR commander and listing three things he wants USAREUR to focus on during his command: continued assistance to Afghanistan after 2014; continued alliance with European partner forces; and new ways to apply innovative techniques such as cyber-operations, special operations, missile defense and other emerging technologies in the USAREUR mission.
In his remarks Campbell also spoke of partnerships and the future.
“Our European partners have stood side by side with us in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and the Balkans,” he said. “These partnerships, grounded in trust, remain the cornerstone for U.S. engagement with the world.”
“This is why U.S. Army Europe remains more vital today than ever.”
The challenge, he said, will be to maintain and build upon these gains in an era of dwindling resources. But he added that USAREUR’s transformation is making it better able to meet those challenges.
“We are in the process of deactivating two long-storied brigades, and we are reducing our garrison footprint across Europe. This transition makes us leaner, better organized, and more agile. In the end we will be better prepared to face the challenges of the future,” he said.
Campbell officially became the 38th commander of USAREUR upon his arrival in Germany Dec. 1, following an assignment as commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas.
Campbell has a long history with USAREUR. His previous positions in Europe include the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany; the 4th Battalion, 69th Armor in Mainz, Germany; Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium; and V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany.
Several dignitaries from across Europe attended the ceremony, including Volker Bouffier, Minister President of Hessen; Robert Mandell, U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg; Dr. Helmut Müller, Lord Mayor of Wiesbaden; Lothar Binding, member of the German federal parliament; Norbert Kartmann, president of the Hessen state parliament; Prof. Dr. Luise Holscher, undersecretary of the Hessen finance ministry; Ambassador Larry Butler, U.S. European Command civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor; Peter Von Unruh, director of the Hessen state parliament; Alois Karl, member of the Bundestag; and Kevin Milas, U.S. consul general, Frankfurt.
Several senior European military officers also attended the event, including the commander of the Albanian Armed Forces; the commander of the Bulgarian Land Forces; the Germany Army Inspekteur des Heeres; the commander of the Kosovo Security Forces; the commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces; the commander of the Polish Land Forces; and the commander of the Romanian Land Forces.