USA — Thurman becomes 18th commander of U.S. Army’s largest command

FORT McPHER­SON, Ga. (June 3, 2010) — Gen. James D. Thur­man became the 18th com­mand­ing gen­er­al of U.S. Army Forces Com­mand dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny on Hedekin Field here today.

FORSCOM - U.S. Army Forces Command
(Left to right) Gen. Charles C. Camp­bell, out­go­ing FORSCOM com­man­der; Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., Army Chief of Staff; and Gen. James. D. Thur­man, incom­ing FORSCOM com­man­der; salute dur­ing the play­ing of the nation­al anthem at the U.S. Army Forces Com­mand change of com­mand cer­e­mo­ny June 3 on Hedekin Field at Fort McPher­son, Ga.
Source: FORSCOM Pub­lic Affairs
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Thur­man suc­ceed­ed Gen. Charles C. Camp­bell, who retired today fol­low­ing 40 years of ser­vice, becom­ing the last con­tin­u­ous­ly serv­ing Army offi­cer who saw ser­vice in Viet­nam to leave active duty.

As com­man­der of the largest com­mand in the U.S. Army, Thur­man now over­sees the train­ing and readi­ness of more than 750,000 Sol­diers in the active Army, Army Nation­al Guard and Army Reserve, plus 3,500 Army civil­ians.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. host­ed the cer­e­mo­ny. He char­ac­ter­ized the event as an impor­tant mile­stone in the life of the Army, describ­ing the tra­di­tion of for­mal­ly chang­ing com­mand in front of the troops as fun­da­men­tal to the military’s vital­i­ty.

Speak­ing about Camp­bell, the Army’s senior gen­er­al praised FORSCOM’s out­go­ing com­man­der, describ­ing his ser­vice by using the out­go­ing FORSCOM commander’s own words. “In his own words in the Army Times this week, (Gen. Camp­bell said) ‘I would argue that the Army is prob­a­bly more capa­ble today than it was when we entered this fray eight and a half years ago, which is real­ly with­out his­tor­i­cal prece­dent.’ It IS Hon­do, and it’s large­ly because of you and the Sol­diers that you led,” said Casey.

Dur­ing his remarks, Thur­man thanked the Sol­diers present on the parade field and the tens of thou­sands of FORSCOM Sol­diers they rep­re­sent­ed.

“A change of com­mand cer­e­mo­ny is as much about rec­og­niz­ing the great Sol­diers, Civil­ians and Army fam­i­lies as it is about rec­og­niz­ing the out­go­ing and incom­ing com­man­ders,” said Thur­man.

“To the Sol­diers in the for­ma­tion, you look splen­did. Today, you demon­strate the exper­tise preva­lent in our force, and your com­pe­tence and pro­fes­sion­al­ism inspires all of us. Thank you for your sac­ri­fice and ser­vice,” he said.

Pri­or to assum­ing com­mand of FORSCOM, Thur­man served as the deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, head­quar­ters, Depart­ment of the Army.

A native of Mari­et­ta, Okla., Thur­man earned his com­mis­sion through the Reserve Offi­cer Train­ing Corps at East Cen­tral Uni­ver­si­ty in 1975.

Pri­or to FORSCOM, Thur­man com­mand­ed at every ech­e­lon through corps. His first com­mand­ed a troop in the 11th Armored Cav­al­ry Reg­i­ment, then a squadron in the 2nd Armored Cav­al­ry Reg­i­ment and anoth­er in the 3rd Infantry Divi­sion. Next, Thur­man com­mand­ed a brigade in the 3rd Infantry Divi­sion, before tak­ing com­mand of the Oper­a­tions Group at the Nation­al Train­ing Cen­ter and Fort Irwin, Calif. He also com­mand­ed the 4th Infantry Divi­sion, and the V Corps in Ger­many.

Thurman’s career includes exten­sive Army and Joint staff expe­ri­ence, includ­ing assign­ments as the Assis­tant to the Chief of Staff for Plans and Pol­i­cy (J5), Allied Forces South­ern Europe, Region­al Com­mand South in Italy; direc­tor of train­ing, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3, Head­quar­ters, Depart­ment of the Army; chief, Oper­a­tions, Coali­tion Forces Land Com­po­nent Com­mand C3 in Kuwait; and direc­tor, Army Avi­a­tion Task Force, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3, Head­quar­ters, Depart­ment of the Army.

Thurman’s com­bat assign­ments were as a bat­tal­ion exec­u­tive offi­cer in the 1st Cav­al­ry Divi­sion, dur­ing oper­a­tions Desert Shield/Storm from 1990–91; Chief of Oper­a­tions for the Coali­tion Forces Land Com­po­nent Com­mand, dur­ing Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom from 2002-03; and as the com­man­der of the Mul­ti-Nation­al Divi­sion-Bagh­dad, Iraq in 2006.

He holds a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree in his­to­ry from East Cen­tral Uni­ver­si­ty and a Mas­ter of Arts in man­age­ment from Web­ster Uni­ver­si­ty. He has attend­ed innu­mer­able mil­i­tary schools, and Thur­man is a grad­u­ate of the Com­mand and Gen­er­al Staff Col­lege and the Army War Col­lege.

His mil­i­tary awards and dec­o­ra­tions include the Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Medal (two Oak Leaf Clus­ters), Defense Supe­ri­or Ser­vice Medal (one Oak Leaf Clus­ter), the Legion of Mer­it (three Oak Leaf Clus­ters), the Bronze Star Medal (one Oak Leaf Clus­ter), the Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal (five Oak Leaf Clus­ters), the Army Com­men­da­tion Medal, and the Army Achieve­ment Medal (three Oak Leaf Clus­ters). Gen­er­al Thur­man is a senior Army avi­a­tor and has earned the Com­bat Action Badge, the Para­chutist Badge, and the Army Staff Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Badge.

Some of the dis­tin­guished guests who attend­ed the event were:

  • Joseph West­phal, under sec­re­tary of the Army;

  • Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, and Mrs. She­lia Casey;

  • Gen. Ann Dun­woody, com­mand­ing gen­er­al, Army Materiel Com­mand;

  • Air Force Gen. Craig McKin­ley, chief, Nation­al Guard Bureau;

  • Nel­son M. Ford, for­mer under sec­re­tary of the Army;

  • Earnes­tine Pittman may­or of East Point (Ga.);

  • Retired Gen. Edwin H. Bur­ba Jr.;

  • Jean Ellis, wife of retired Gen. Lar­ry Ellis, for­mer FORSCOM com­man­der;

  • Retired Gen. and Mrs. Leon Laporte;

  • Retired Gen. Thomas Schwartz, for­mer FORSCOM com­man­der;

  • Jean Shine, civil­ian aide to the sec­re­tary of the Army, Texas;

  • Felk­er W. Ward, civil­ian aide to the sec­re­tary of the Army, Geor­gia;

  • James R. Balk­com, civil­ian aide to the sec­re­tary of the Army, Geor­gia;

  • Charles W. “Duke” Dou­ble­day, civil­ian aide to the sec­re­tary of the Army, Geor­gia.

FORSCOM Pub­lic Affairs
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)