Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno assumes command of USJFCOM from acting commander Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber. Huber, the USJFCOM deputy commander, had been serving as acting commander of the Norfolk-based organization since early August when he took over for Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis.
By Army Sgt. Josh LeCappelain
(SUFFOLK, Va., Oct. 29, 2010) -- Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno assumed command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) in a ceremony presided over by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at USJFCOM's Suffolk facility today.
Odierno relieved acting commander, Army Lt. Gen. Keith L. Huber, who will remain as USJFCOM deputy commander. Huber served as acting commander since early August, accepting the reins from Marine Corps. Gen. James N. Mattis.
Mullen praised the dedication and work ethic of all USJFCOM's team members and called Odierno a great fit for leading them.
"Ray Odierno was the right leader for the right job in Iraq and he is the right leader to lead here today," Mullen said. "He understands that you can't manage a war, or any significant endeavor for that matter, from an office or command center. I know he will bring that same commitment and energy that he had in Iraq to (U.S.) Joint Forces Command."
Huber talked about the honor he feels in getting to serve as USJFCOM acting commander and called the day one of appreciation and praise, thanking the USJFCOM staff for making the transition to a new commander seamless.
"(Thank you) for your patience and persistence in your duty performance as we set the conditions for the welcome, arrival and transition to Gen. Odierno," said Huber. "Gen. Odierno, sir, welcome. We are honored to receive you."
Odierno thanked Huber for his hard work as acting commander, saying that he had done a "magnificient job," and also talked to the capacity crowd about his excitement to be in command of a joint organization once again.
"There's no greater responsibility than to command soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines," said Odierno, who led joint warfighters during his Iraq tenure. "These great young men and women are what make us successful today. It's so exciting to continue to be involved with them on a daily basis."
Odierno most recently served as the commander of U.S. Forces - Iraq and Multi-National Forces - Iraq, dedicating a cumulative total of 55 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He also has served as the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and is one of the few Army generals in history to command a division, corps and an entire theatre during the same conflict.
Odierno called USJFCOM a vanguard of change and a lynchpin of America's defense, talking about personally benefiting from the command during his time in Iraq and how joint operations will be the standard going forward.
"The past 10 years have taught us that we will never fight alone," he said. "The outstanding contributions made by my predecessors have prepared me to lead you to carry on this important mission."