The U.S. Army communities spread throughout lower South Korea now have a new “mayor.”

Col. Donald J. Hendrix became commander Thursday of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry in Taegu. The unit manages Army installations in Area IV, the largest of the U.S. Army’s four geographic regions in South Korea.

The area’s major installations are Camp Henry and Camp Walker in Taegu; Camp Hialeah in Pusan; and in Waegwan, Camp Carroll, a big logistics base.

As such, Hendrix becomes the area’s virtual mayor, in ultimate charge of public works, public safety, and a host of quality-of-life services — barracks upkeep, libraries and theaters, and much else.

Under rainy skies, Hendrix assumed command in a 25-minute ceremony in front of the unit’s Camp Henry headquarters.

“Command of any organization involves a special trust, a covenant not entered into lightly,” he said in remarks during the ceremony. “Command of this particular formation in which thousands of … parents have entrusted the well-being of their sons and daughters to our care is staggering. It is with this in mind that I accept the responsibility and assume command today.”

Until last October, base operations in Area IV were one of the 20th Area Support Group’s two main missions, along with training to provide wartime supply, repair and other combat service support to ground forces.

But under an Armywide restructuring, the Area IV Support Activity was activated Oct. 16, freeing the 20th to devote itself strictly to combat service support.

“As you all know, we are an Army transforming while our nation and our armed forces are simultaneously engaged in the global war on terrorism,” Hendrix said. “Our Army met a major milestone with the activation of the Installation Management Agency almost two years ago and the Army chief of staff reminded us of the importance of our installations to Army readiness.”

The Area IV Support Activity comes under the Installation Management Agency Korea Region Office. The 20th Area Support Group remains under the 19th Theater Support Command, the senior Army logistics arm in South Korea.

“Col. Hendrix is especially qualified to assume command of ‘Area Four,’ ” Brig. Gen. John A. Macdonald, director of IMA in Korea, said at the ceremony. “His past assignments have given him the experience and background to lead into a new phase of transformation.”

Born in Mississippi, Hendrix earned a 1977 bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University, Ala., where he was a distinguished military graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Commissioned in the Army’s Adjutant General Corps in 1978, he also holds a master’s degree in business administration from LaVern University.

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