Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. takes the guidon from Gen. James Thurman, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, as Lt. Gen. (promotable) Robert W. Cone hands over command of III Corps and Fort Hood to Campbell Thursday at Sadowski Field. Campbell received his third star before the ceremony.
Fort Hood soldiers take part in a change of command ceremony for incoming commander Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. and outgoing commander Lt. Gen. (promotable) Robert W. Cone Thursday at Sadowski Field

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By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD — Every unit at Fort Hood was represented Thursday on Sadowski Field as Lt. Gen. (promotable) Robert W. Cone handed III Corps and Fort Hood over to Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr.

Campbell received his third star during a ceremony in III Corps headquarters’ East Atrium before the change of command.

Since taking command of III Corps and Fort Hood in September 2009, Cone has accomplished every mission the nation gave him, said Gen. James Thurman, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command. That included leading III Corps’ headquarters to Iraq in early 2010, where Cone served as deputy commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq. The headquarters returned in early February.

Cone is set to take command at the Training and Doctrine Command on April 29 at Fort Monroe, Va., according to information from Fort Hood.

“There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to make a difference for the Army,” Thurman said to Cone.

Cone’s defining moment

It was just six weeks into Cone’s command at Fort Hood when he was faced with one of the greatest challenges any commander could face, Thurman said. A gunman opened fired at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center, killing 13 and wounding more than 30.

“It shocked this community and it shocked this nation,” Thurman said.

It was a defining moment of leadership for Cone, he went on to say.

Cone later spoke about the incident, saying it started with an act that showed the worst of humanity, but ultimately brought out the best in humanity as the Fort Hood and surrounding communities pulled together.

Fort Hood is the finest military installation in the country and it’s not because of the weather or the post’s size and scale or Texas charm. What sets Fort Hood apart is the people, Cone said.

Cone met his wife of 25 years, Jill, in Austin when he was a young captain stationed at Fort Hood. He has since spent a third of his 32 years in the Army at or around Fort Hood.

The people of Central Texas had a huge impact on the Cone family, the general said, and “it’s not easy to say goodbye.”

Cone went on to acknowledge soldiers, community members and civilian employees. He specifically addressed Army leaders, saying the ability to stand in front of a formation and lead soldiers was a privilege given by the American people. Leaders must be good enough to measure up to that trust, he added.

Cone told Campbell and his wife of 32 years, Ann, to enjoy every minute of their time in command.

This isn’t Campbell’s first assignment at Fort Hood.

Campbell assumed command of the 4th Infantry’s 1st Brigade in June 2001, according to information from the Army, later advancing to serve as the division’s chief of staff until June 2004.

Campbell most recently served as the commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

Thurman said Campbell was a proven combat leader of immense capability, who will continue to make III Corps more capable and effective.

‘Great team’

Campbell said he appreciated the opportunity to lead and praised Cone and Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Coleman, III Corps and Fort Hood senior noncommissioned officer, for the leadership and standards they instilled.

“We’ll be a great team,” Campbell said to Coleman.

Thurman, a former 4th Infantry commander, told Campbell to be ready for the unexpected because the Army will call on III Corps again.

Herald Military Editor Amanda Kim Stairrett talked this week with Lt. Gen. (promotable) Robert W. Cone about his time leading III Corps and Fort Hood. For more on this story, see next week’s Fort Hood Herald.