News Column

Rodriguez Nominated for 4th Star, To Take Over Forces Command

March 30, 2011

Henry Cuningham

President Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez for his fourth star and to be commander of Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Ga., the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Pending Senate confirmation, Rodriguez will replace Gen. J.D. Thurman as the leader of the four-star command that is moving to Fort Bragg this summer.

The confirmation of Rodriguez would mean that someone with strong, longstanding ties to Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne Division will be the first commander of the Army's largest command in its new home.

Rodriguez is commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and deputy commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

The 1976 West Point graduate first came to Fort Bragg in 1989 for an assignment with the 18th Airborne Corps and served with the 82nd Airborne Division in the first Persian Gulf War. From 1997 to 1999, he commanded the division's 2nd Brigade.

Rodriguez was the 82nd Airborne Division commander from 2006 to 2008. During that time, he spent 15 months commanding the Combined Joint Task Force 82 in Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday announced the nomination of Rodriguez, his former senior military assistant.

Gates said March 2 he would recommend Thurman to be commander of U.S. Forces Korea. He would succeed Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp in South Korea.

Thurman, who has been at Forces Command for about a year and served briefly in the 82nd Airborne Division as a young officer, had been expected to bring the command to Fort Bragg this summer.

Forces Command trains, mobilizes, deploys and sustains about 780,000 soldiers for worldwide deployment.

Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg will continue the headquarters transition from Fort McPherson to Fort Bragg, said Paul Boyce, a spokesman for the command in Atlanta. Bromberg has been deputy commanding general and chief of staff since Dec. 22.

Work nearly finished

Construction is more than 91 percent complete on the combined headquarters for Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command. The contractor is scheduled to turn the building over to the U.S. government on June 21. The headquarters site is at Knox and Randolph streets.

Most of the headquarters staff will be at Fort Bragg by late July, and the current headquarters in Atlanta is scheduled to close in early August, Boyce said.

The planning process for the move has continued through several previous commanders, and the command has kept up its role of training and equipping forces, Boyce said.

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