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Maj. Gen. William D. Catto on Wednesday became chief of staff at the U.S. European Command and the first Marine to hold that position.

Maj. Gen. William D. Catto on Wednesday became chief of staff at the U.S. European Command and the first Marine to hold that position. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

STUTTGART, Germany — Maj. Gen. William D. Catto on Wednesday became chief of staff at the U.S. European Command and the first Marine to hold that position.

Catto was previously commander of Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. The systems command tests and fields gear for Marines, including body and vehicle armor, vehicles and weaponry.

Catto replaced Army Lt. Gen. Colby Broadwater III, who retired in May.

The change was the third in recent weeks involving top EUCOM leadership.

On May 3, Army Gen. William E. Ward became the command’s deputy commander, succeeding Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald, who retired. On June 26, Navy Rear Adm. William H. McRaven became commander of the Stuttgart-based U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, which plans and coordinates special operations activities within EUCOM’s 92-nation area of responsibility.

McRaven succeeded Army Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, who took command of Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The EUCOM commander, Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., has been in his post for 3½ years but has not stated publicly any plans for retiring.

Catto will be third-in-command at EUCOM, behind Jones and Ward. As chief of staff, Catto is responsible for the day-to-day administration and integration of the EUCOM staff.

The European command directs five U.S. components: U.S. Army Europe; U.S. Navy Europe; U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Special Operations Command Europe. Its mission is to support and achieve U.S. interests and objectives throughout 92 nations in Europe, the majority of Africa and portions of the Middle East.

Among its functions are planning and conducting operations such as noncombatant evacuations and humanitarian relief operations; providing combat-ready forces to both Allied Command Europe and other U.S. unified commands; and conducting intelligence activities and security assistance.

Catto is the 27th chief of staff for EUCOM. Twenty-two of the previous 26 came from the Army, three from the Air Force and one from the Navy.


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