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Austin previously served under Odierno at the start of the Iraq war. On June 30, he was confirmed by the Senate to replace Odierno as leader of United States Forces Iraq. The change in command coincided with the official end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq.
“The United States has ended its combat mission in Iraq,” Biden said before the ceremony. “Iraqi troops are taking lead responsibility for their country’s security.”
Odierno will now head the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which is based in Norfolk, Va.
“He leaves as one of the few U.S. Army generals in history to command a division, corps and entire theater in the same conflict,” Gates said.
Odierno’s mission was to build on the hard-fought gains of the surge, and expand the capacity and capabilities of Iraq’s army and police.
“Lloyd Austin — like Ray Odierno — has always led by example, asking nothing of his troops that he would not do himself,” Gates said. “He has the unique distinction of being awarded the Silver Star for valor as a general officer, leading from the front during the 3rd Infantry Division’s march to Baghdad more than seven years ago.
“It will require a comprehensive and coherent approach by all U.S. government entities, international organizations and the Iraqi government,” Austin said. “The result of that teamwork will be a stable, secure and self-reliant Iraq that benefits the entire region.”
USBE Online May 19, 2010 --Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has nominated Army Lieutenant General Lloyd J. Austin III for appointment to the rank of general and assignment as commanding general, U. S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lt. Gen. Austin is currently serving as director, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
General Austin has served in several command and staff assignments throughout his 34-year career. His previous assignments include Rifle and Scout Platoon Leader, 3d Infantry Division, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army; Company Commander, 2d Battalion, 508th Infantry, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Company Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Indianapolis, Indiana; Company Tactical Officer, U.S. Military Academy and Executive Officer, 1st Infantry Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, New York, from June 1991 until October 1992.
Returning to Fort Bragg, he served as Commander, 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division and OPERATION SAFE HAVEN, Panama; G-3 for the 82d Airborne Division; and Commander, 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division from June 1997 to June 1999.
Following division command, he served as the Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, from September 2005 until October 2006. In December 2006, he assumed command of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg and deployed the Corps headquarters as Multinational Corps–Iraq from February 2008 to April 2009. General Austin relinquished command of XVIII Airborne Corps in August 2009 and is currently serving as Director, Joint Staff.
His military education includes the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master's Degree in Education from Auburn University, and a Master's Degree in Business Management from Webster University.
General Austin's awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with Four Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (with Five Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.
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