Brig. Gen. Eugene Leboeuf

Brig. Gen. Eugene Leboeuf (U.S. Army photo)

VICENZA, Italy — A former engineering professor who arrived in Vicenza three weeks ago found himself on Friday as the acting commander of U.S. Army Africa.

Brig. Gen. Eugene LeBoeuf, a civil engineering professor at Vanderbilt University until he was called to active duty last year, was to be the deputy commander.

But on Friday his responsibilities broadened when USARAF commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington was suspended, while the Army Inspector General investigates reports that Harrington sent flirtatious texts to an enlisted soldier’s wife.

USARAF officials declined to address questions about any difficulties the command was facing following the abrupt change in command.

“Under Brig. Gen. LeBoeuf’s leadership, USARAF will continue its mission and implement the vision of achieving USAFRICOM and U.S. Army long-term strategic goals,” USARAF spokesman Lt. Col. Armando Hernandez said in an email.

Where Harrington will be posted during his suspension was unclear. In similar circumstances, senior officers have been sent to the Pentagon to serve as special assistants.

LeBoeuf’s most recent previous active-duty posting was at the new Army University at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as the deputy commander and vice provost for academic affairs.

LeBoeuf was also previously a professor and associate chair of the civil and environmental engineering department at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

LeBoeuf holds four U.S. patents and has authored scores of technical publications.

LeBoeuf’s military career began in 1985 as a second lieutenant and an Army Technological Enrichment Program Fellow at Northwestern University.

He was on active duty for seven years, serving in South Korea, the U.S. and in the Gulf War.

He spent the first eight years of his Army Reserve career at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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