New commander assumes charge of Fort Lewis troops

FORT LEWIS - Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr. on Monday became the fourth commanding general to lead the Army post in war since the United States invaded Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.

Jacoby, 52, took command of Fort Lewis and I Corps from the acting commander, Brig. Gen. William Troy, during a ceremony attended by civilian and military leaders from the area and abroad.

Jacoby commands more than 30,000 soldiers at the Army post, but also serves as head of an organization whose overall economic effect on the region each year is estimated at more than $2 billion.

The new commanding general said he admired his predecessor at the Army post, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, who formally took the reins of his new job Sunday, leading the command that trains Iraqi security forces. Commanders at Fort Lewis typically serve two-year assignments.

"Like him, I'm committed to the development of our communities, the well-being of our soldiers and families and the success of our deployed units," Jacoby said. "I'm looking forward to joining this fine team and leading I Corps and Fort Lewis as we continue to develop the vision for the future."

Jacoby, whose father was assigned to I Corps during World War II, said he was honored to be named commander of the Army post and corps and looked forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have claimed the lives of 138 service members assigned to Fort Lewis as of Monday. An hour or so after the ceremony, the Pentagon identified three more Fort Lewis soldiers killed in Iraq. About 10,000 soldiers assigned to the Army post are deployed in Iraq.

Other challenges are assisting the Army's ongoing effort to transform into a rapidly deployable and lethal fighting force, converting the headquarters of I Corps to play an essential role in both ongoing and future conflicts and ensuring soldiers wounded in those conflicts receive the best care possible, Jacoby said.

I Corps commands most units at the Army post and conducts planning with other active-duty and Reserve forces in the United States and around the Pacific Rim.

Gen. Charles Campbell, commanding general of U.S. Forces Command, which oversees the training and readiness of 750,000 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers, praised Jacoby during the ceremony as a "proven leader of immense capability."

"He has risen within our Army because he has chosen to do the difficult jobs and he is worthy of the responsibility that he now shoulders," he said of Jacoby, whose previous assignment was commanding all Army forces in Alaska.

Among those who attended the ceremony, which included the firing of cannons and the traditional exchange of the corps colors, were First Gentleman Mike Gregoire; U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma; John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who lives in Steilacoom; and the consul generals for Japan and Korea. The mayors of Lacey and Olympia also attended, as did Acting Lacey Public Works Director Roger Schoessel, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as Jacoby's chief of operations during his assignment in Honduras.

Gregoire said Fort Lewis has had many talented commanding generals over the years and he's confident Jacoby will continue that tradition.

"We've been blessed," he said.

Christian Hill covers the city of Lacey and military for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-754-5427 or at chill@theolympian.com.

Former commanders

Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr. became Fort Lewis' 52nd commanding general during a ceremony Monday. Below is the list of commanding generals over the last two decades (interim commanders not included):

Lt. Gen. James Dubik, November 2004 to April 2007

Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, August 2002 to November 2004

Lt. Gen. James Hill, September 1999 to August 2002

Lt. Gen. G.A. Crocker, December 1996 to September 1999

Lt. Gen. C.G. Marsh, August 1994 to December 1996

Lt. Gen. Carmen Cavezza, November 1991 to July 1994

Lt. Gen. Calvin A.H. Waller, August 1989 to November 1990, and March 1991 to September 1991 (He took a temporary duty assignment as deputy to Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Gulf War)

Lt. Gen. William Harrison, July 1987 to August 1989

Lt. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, June 1986 to July 1987

Source: Fort Lewis

Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr.

Age: 52

Born: Detroit, Mich.

Family: Wife, Grace; three sons, Charles, Victor and Michael

Entered Army service: Commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from West Point in 1978.

Education: Master's degree in history from the University of Michigan.

Previous command assignments: Company commander for 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Urgent Fury, the 1983 invasion of Grenada; battalion commander for same division; commander, Joint Task Force Bravo, which conducts joint, combined and interagency operations in the area from its headquarters in Honduras; commander, U.S. Army Alaska. killed in iraq

FORT LEWIS - The Department of Defense on Monday identified three more Fort Lewis soldiers killed in Iraq:

Army Staff Sgt. Brian M. Long, 32, Burns, Wyo.; killed Sunday in Baghdad by an explosive; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).

Army Pvt. Scott A. Miller, 20, Casper, Wyo.; killed Saturday in Baqubah by small-arms fire; assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).

Army Sgt. Cory M. Endlich, 23, Massillon, Ohio; killed Saturday in Taji by small-arms fire; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).

The Associated Press