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Fort Benning commander to get 3rd star, is reassigned

Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster Jr., commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, has received an appointment to get his third star and been reassigned to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Pentagon said.

McMaster will be deputy commanding general, futures/director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Joint Base Langley-Fort Eustis, Va.

“I think it’s great,” retired Lt. Gen. Carmen Cavezza, former commander at Fort Benning, said of McMaster’s move and promotion to lieutenant general. “I think he is well deserving.”

Gary A. Jones, director of public affairs at the post, said no official date has been set for McMaster’s departure, but reassignments typically occur during the summer. TRADOC oversees training at 32 Army schools, including the Armor and Infantry schools at Fort Benning.McMaster has been commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence since June 2012, assuming command from then-Maj. Gen. Robert Brown who was promoted to lieutenant general and reassigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., McMaster has a master’s and a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina. His thesis criticized the American strategy in Vietnam and was published in a 1997 book titled, “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.” The book that detailed an accounting of military culpability for the failed conflict generated some controversy in military circles.

McMaster, who advanced through the Armor branch, came to Fort Benning from Afghanistan where he was commander of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Shafafiyat, which was part of the International Security Assistance Force. Before Afghanistan, McMaster led counterinsurgency efforts to secure Tal Afar in 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

McMaster received his first star in 2009 after he was passed over twice for promotion. He was promoted to major general before assuming duties at Fort Benning.

Cavezza said McMaster’s experience will serve him in the new position.

“He is a training innovator,” he said. “He got all the experience over in Afghanistan and he understands the needs of the Army there. He was able to bring all that knowledge and everything to Fort Benning and capitalize on it and used it toward training.”

Retired Lt. Gen. R.L. “Sam” Wetzel said McMaster has done a great job in running Fort Benning, helping to get the Armor School integrated into the post and the community.

“I see a lot of good things going on at Fort Benning since he has been here,” said Wetzel, a Benning commander from 1981-1983.

The post commander also has been active in the community. “He has done a great job working with folks here in Columbus,” Wetzel said.

With all the duties under the post commander, Wetzel said the job should run at least three years instead of two. The post commander is responsible for all the weapons systems, training for all soldiers and officers and deployable brigades on post.

“The general has unbelievable responsibilities,” Wetzel said. “I was working my tail off getting those things done.”

Cavezza said all commanders are missed to some extent but civilians, the infrastructure and Department of Defense Education are the continuity of the post.

“The commander brings in new ideas, various strong types of leadership and has always adjusted well to its commanders,” he said. “It always worked out well, so he will be missed, but I think the new commander, whoever that is, is going to come in and fill the role very well.”

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