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Former 3rd ID officer to get Iraq command
Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III speaks as he relinquishes command of Multi-National Corps - Iraq in April 2009, at the transfer of authority ceremony at the Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq. - photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Denise M. Serrano
A former deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Division is reportedly being considered to become the senior U.S. general in Iraq.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior U.S. general in Iraq since 2008, will be succeeded by Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin III, a leading Pentagon general, at the end of the summer, military officials said Monday. Austin is now staff director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He was assistant division commander of the 3rd ID based at Fort Stewart in 2001-03.
Military officials spoke about the change on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not yet made a recommendation to the White House for Odierno’s successor.
Odierno took over command in Iraq from Gen. David Petraeus. He has served in various senior Army positions in Iraq since 2006. Odierno is less well known, although he cuts an imposing figure at more than 6 feet tall, burly and bald.
He plans to remain in Iraq through the drawdown of U.S. combat forces by September. Odierno then takes over Joint Forces Command, which trains forces from all branches of the military to work together.
The 3rd ID currently has three brigades, nearly 12,000 troops, in Iraq and will send the 4th Brigade Combat Team there this summer. The 3rd ID troops currently there will start redeploying next fall.
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