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Former ADC here assumes command of Multinational Corps Iraq
austin speaks
Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III tells U.S. and coalition forces he is ready to help Iraqis continue their success by promoting progress as the new Multinational Corps Iraq commander. Austin assumed command Thursday in a ceremony at Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Baghdad. - photo by Photo by Sgt. Laura M. Bigenho, USA
BAGHDAD -- Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a former assistant division commander for the 3rd Infantry Division, assumed command of Multinational Corps Iraq at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace here Thursday.
He succeeds Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who has been nominated for his fourth star and, if confirmed, will become Army vice chief of staff later this year.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander, praised Odierno's accomplishments and leadership as commander of 3rd Corps and Multinational Corps Iraq. Petraeus said Iraq was a much different place when Odierno first took command 14 months ago.
"The situation was very difficult," Petraeus said. "The bloodshed had reached horrific levels. The very fabric of Iraqi society had been torn."
Austin was ADC for maneuvers for the 3rd ID from July 2001 to June 2003 at Fort Stewart and during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He left Fort Stewart to become commander of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
He said he looks forward to working with Iraqi security forces, who he said share ideals similar to those of coalition forces.
"Iraqis, like the coalition soldiers by their sides, believe that there are ideals and responsibilities that transcend the individual, and they are denying the terrorists the freedom to launch their attacks from their neighborhoods," the general said. "Every day, Iraqis are getting involved with the government."
Austin's other assignments include command of Combined Joint Task Force 180 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and, most recently, chief of staff for U.S. Central Command. He took command of 18th Airborne Corps, which assumed responsibility for Multinational Corps Iraq from 3rd Corps in yesterday's ceremony, in December 2006.
Austin said he plans to help Iraqis promote progress.
"We will help the Iraqi government integrate local volunteers into the Iraqi security force and other employment opportunities that will promote progress for this great country," he said.
The Iraqis' evident choice of peace over sectarian violence will be key in continuing to make progress, Austin said.
"It is clear that the Iraqi people have a new confidence in tomorrow and in their future," he said. "With will, determination and focus, together we can achieve lasting security and give all Iraqis a future of hope."

Army Sgt. Laura M. Bigenho serves with Multinational Corps Iraq Public Affairs.
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