US Army Central welcomes new leader after change of command ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base

US Army Central welcomes new leader after change of command ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - The US Army Central has a new leader, Lieutenant General Terry Ferrell.

Lieutenant General Terry Ferrell (Source: US Army Central)
Lieutenant General Terry Ferrell (Source: US Army Central)

Lieutenant General Michael Garrett, who served as commander since November of 2015, will be moving on to soon take command of U.S. Army Forces Command.

Lieutenant General Michael Garrett (Source: US Army Central)
Lieutenant General Michael Garrett (Source: US Army Central)

Hundreds of soldiers and family friends attended the Change of Command ceremony at Shaw Airforce Base Friday afternoon.

This is the official passing of colors from Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett to Lt. Gen. Terry Ferrell.

Change of Command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one officer to another.

It kicked off with the formation of the troops and simulated cannon fire.

Ferrell was promoted to lieutenant general just before the ceremony and most recently served as the USCENTCOM chief of staff.

“Everyone in the audience, thank you all for coming,” said Ferrell. “I am truly honored and humbled to be here today and joining the U.S. Army Central third Army team. To U.S. Army Central Soldiers, I’m truly excited to be on your team. Without you, U.S. Central wouldn’t be able to do its job. There’s change on the horizon, we know that we’ll adjust to the change. This headquarters is prepared for that and I look forward to the challenges.”

Ferrell was commissioned in 1984 as an armor officer upon graduating from Marshall University. His assignments include multiple joint and operational tours, staff assignments at numerous levels, as well as several commands. Highlights include commanding 3d Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) based in Fort Stewart, Georgia and deployed in support of Operation Joint Forge and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ferrell's military education includes completion of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.

Lieutenant General Michael Garrett has been nominated for promotion to the rank of General, the highest officer rank in the U.S. military, and will go on to serve as commanding general for U.S. Army Forces Command located at Fort Bragg, N.C.

USARCENT has authority over all U.S. Army forces in the Middle East and Central Asia and has played an integral role in the 18 year-long conflict in the Middle East.

Throughout his tenure, Garrett has been heavily involved in USARCENT’s area of responsibility. This includes the command’s numerous operations to build and foster partnerships in the CENTCOM region, the on-going ground wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and the continued effort to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Lieutenant General Garrett shared his thoughts with WIS on his experience living in South Carolina.

“I have never been to Sumter, I have never been to Columbia [before taking command of U.S. Army Central] I am just grateful for the way that the State of South Carolina has welcomed us,” Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, Commander of Army Forces Command said. “Everyone from the governor to local elected officials has welcomed their army [U.S. Army Central] with open arms.”

Garrett will no longer be in charge of army operations in the Middle East.

He will move from commanding roughly 20,000 Soldiers to 750,000 Soldiers in his new position.

Garrett updated WIS on the progress he’s made while overseeing USARCENT in the middle eastern theatre, the challenges we still face, and the shifting of our country’s national defense policy from the middle east to the European and Pacific theatres.

“What it means for us in the middle east is that we have to be more efficient with the resources that we have and we have to look for ways to provide resources back to, in our case, the army, to provide resources back to the army so that the army can meet its requirements under this new national defense strategy,” Garrett said.

Garrett says shifting the weight of our military effort to the Pacific and to Europe is a big change and transition.

Garrett will head to his next assignment at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on March 21st.

He will be promoted to General, which is four stars, which is the highest rank in the military.

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