Scaparrotti named new commander for local Army forces

The Department of Defense this morning named a new commanding general for I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that President Barack Obama nominated Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for promotion to lieutenant general and assignment running Army operations at the joint Army-Air Force base south of Tacoma.

Scaparrotti most recently served as commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

If the Senate confirms the appointment as expected, Scaparrotti will become the 63nd commanding general in the 93-year history of the Army installation, recently known as Fort Lewis and before that Camp Lewis.

Lewis-McChord is currently under the interim command of Maj. Gen. John Johnson. He took the reins in June, when Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr. relinquished command after three years.

Jacoby was in charge during the training and deployment of the biggest combat surge of local troops since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. Scaparrotti, on the other hand, takes over at a time when 18,000 local troops, including three Stryker brigades, are freshly home from war zones this year. He will have oversight of helping them readjust to life at home and begin training for their next missions, which are uncertain given the Obama administration's pullout of combat troops in Iraq this month and the president's pledge to start doing the same in Afghanistan next July.