After receiving his fourth star, Gen. John F. Campbell was sworn in as the Army’s 34th vice chief of staff by Secretary of the Army John McHugh at the Pentagon March 8.
An hour earlier, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the outgoing vice chief for the last 13 months, was presented the Distinguished Service Medal and his wife, Charlene, was given the Army Public Service Award by McHugh.
The Austins are headed to Tampa, Fla., where he will command the joint U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) that oversees all military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Campbell was nominated by President Barack Obama in February, and confirmed by Congress March 5, to succeed Austin who was nominated in December by the president to his new post.
Campbell had been serving as Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, and before that as commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Just prior to Campbell’s swearing in as the Army’s vice chief by McHugh, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Campbell’s wife, Ann, replaced his three-star shoulder boards with those of a general.
After the change of responsibility, Odierno told the audience that as the Army continues to move forward through trying times, it becomes more and more important to pick the right leaders.
"As we continue to move forward with this great Army of ours it’s important that we pick the right leaders as we go forward as we address these challenges in the Army," Odierno said.
Adding, "John Campbell is one of those leaders I want by my side as we navigate these very difficult times. He will be the one who helps me and the secretary as we reshape the Army of the future."
After presenting his wife with flowers, Campbell took center stage pledging, "to do everything I can with the tools I have to support our great Army – I look forward to the challenges ahead."
In the first ceremony, McHugh commended Austin by saying: "He has always brought to the Pentagon his tremendous experience and his great expertise. His leadership and oversight has simply been invaluable in virtually everything we do, everything we stand against and every challenge we face, from manning to training to equipping, there’s no area that the vice has not been engaged in and tried to make a difference and has."
After presenting Austin the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Leadership Award and Austin’s cased and framed personal four-star flag, McHugh presented Charlene Austin with the Army Public Service Award for her continued, life-long commitment to creating a positive impact on soldiers, Army civilians and military families, as well as wounded warriors.
"Her understanding of people being what the Army is about, the people being our strength, has really guided her countless efforts over more than twenty years of extraordinary public service on behalf of our Army community," McHugh said.
Adding, "From her work with military children and families to wounded warriors and their care-givers, from her dialogue with our senior leaders and their spouses to her contributions to the USO, Charlene has given tremendous passion and energy to helping our Army family through all the trials that are really unique to military ranks."
In his farewell comments, Austin thanked senior leaders for their support throughout his 13-month assignment, adding that after fighting two wars in separate theaters for well over a decade, the Army and the military have much to be proud of.
"We always have to be looking forward to what lies beyond the horizon, the next fight and the next opportunity, for that’s the nature of our business, to always be prepared for the uncertain future," Austin said.
"Make no mistake that the actions we take now during this brief window of time, at this key inflection point, will ultimately determine the readiness of the force of the future – if we get it right, our Army and our military will be strong for the next decade. If we don’t get it right, we’ll struggle for the next decade," he added. (ARNEWS)