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HEIDELBERG, Germany — The newly enlarged 26th Area Support Group, soon to be known as U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg, got a new commander Wednesday during a ceremony at Patrick Henry Village.

Col. Willie Gaddis took command of the unit, which provides support services to some 51,500 people associated with the U.S. military, including 17,000 troops and their 18,000 family members.

Gaddis’s last assignment was deputy director of Army safety within the Pentagon’s Office of the Chief of Staff.

Gaddis replaces Col. Robert Rush Jr., who had been assigned to the post for the past three years. Rush, who served in Vietnam in 1971 as an Army private, was discharged in 1974 and then became a second lieutenant in 1979, is to be V Corps deputy chief of staff.

The 26th ASG earlier this month incorporated the former 411th Base Support Battalion into its purview. The 411th was inactivated.

In October, the 26th ASG will undergo a name change to become U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg, as part of the transformation process that is consolidating and reducing the number of troops in Germany.

Some 400 people attended the ceremony Wednesday, according to 26th ASG spokesman Harry Connors, who said it went especially well. “The weather was nice, the band was great and the soldiers looked good,” he said.

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