KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Citizen soldiers in Europe will play a critical role in supporting the nation’s defense strategy as the U.S. military transitions out of Afghanistan and operates on a tighter budget, says the new commander of the 7th Civil Support Command.
Brig. Gen. Paul Benenati, who took charge of the unique Army Reserve command at an indoor ceremony Friday at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, spoke of how reservists, after the war in Afghanistan ends, won’t return to being a force called on only in times of war or national emergency.
“We’ve moved a large percentage of many of our capabilities into the Army Reserve,” he said. “And we must be ready, tactically, and technically proficient at all times … with little to no notice.”
The 7th CSC, the only Army Reserve unit to be entirely stationed overseas, has about 1,000 soldiers who are based out of four locations in Germany and Italy.
Benenati takes the helm as the organization continues to transform into an operational, deployable civil support command that actively participates in bolstering the capabilities of partner countries. It also supports humanitarian assistance and other missions, as directed by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command — the unit’s parent command — and U.S. Army Europe.
Benenati, along with about 120 of the command’s soldiers, is on active duty. He was commissioned in 1980 through ROTC from the University of Richmond in Virginia, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and began his Army career in the military police corps, according to his official Army biography. His last assignment was as the commander of the 451st Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Wichita, Kan.
Benenati took command of the civil support command from Brig. Gen. Mark Hendrix, who led the unit since June 2011. Hendrix, a licensed attorney, was planning to return to his former home in Missouri, where he is awaiting his next assignment in the Army Reserve.