A brigadier general who once commanded a brigade in Afghanistan will take over duties as the Army’s senior leader in Italy in the next few months, according to a release issued Thursday by the Pentagon.

Brig. Gen. William B. Garrett III, who most recently served as deputy director of operations at the National Military Command Center, has been selected to take over command of the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), based in Vicenza. He’ll replace Maj. Gen. Frank Helmick. Garrett likely would receive his second star before receiving the command, pending Senate approval.

Maj. Ryan Dillon, public affairs officer for SETAF, said Helmick’s next assignment has not been released and no date has been set for the change of command. Helmick has headed SETAF since July 2006.

Garrett previously served as executive officer to the Army chief of staff. Before that, he had two consecutive tours with the 10th Mountain Division, including commander (2002-04) of the 1st Brigade in Afghanistan and the division’s chief of staff when it returned to Fort Drum, N.Y.

A graduate of North Georgia College, Garrett entered the Army with a commission through ROTC in 1981. According to his biography, he served with the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and was with the XVIII Airborne Corps during Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

This will be his first assignment in Europe. If he takes over before August, he’ll be on hand to welcome back the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which is currently serving a 15-month rotation in Afghanistan. If schedules hold true, he’ll command SETAF when construction starts on new facilities at the Dal Molin airfield, but his successor would be in command by the time they’re ready for use.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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