The new Army Pacific forces commander, Lt. Gen. James Campbell, right, and outgoing commander Lt. Gen. E. P. Smith watched the change-of-command ceremony yesterday at Fort Shafter.

Campbell takes over
Army Pacific

By Gregg K. Kakesako

After waiting for nearly a year, Lt. Gen. James Campbell yesterday received the colors and command of the more than 36,000 soldiers and civilian workers in the Pacific region.

Campbell, 53, was named in July 2001 as the new Army Pacific forces commander and arrived in the islands in late November to assume his new role. However, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the realignment of the nation's military and the establishment of the Army's newest mission -- homeland security -- held up the change.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric "Ric" Shinseki was on hand to witness Campbell assume command from Lt. Gen. E.P. Smith of U.S. Army Pacific, which stretches from Alaska to Japan.

Yesterday on the parade grounds in front of Campbell's headquarters building at Fort Shafter, Adm. Thomas Fargo, Pacific forces commander, recalled that Campbell served in near-combat operations in Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti, which demonstrated his adaptability.

"Operating with both light and motorized forces illustrates your versatility," Fargo added.

Fargo said Campbell assumes the leadership of soldiers in the Pacific during a time that "witnessed a series of challenges for the nation and the world" over the past year.

"Things may well get tougher before they improve," he said.

Fargo said Smith, who retired yesterday after 35 years in uniform, was not only "a great leader ... but helped shaped some of the very best who have served and those whose moment surely will come."

Shinseki described both Smith and Campbell as "men of vision. Both have been operationally tested in battle. Both are dearly loved by their soldiers and both are friends."

During the four years Smith, 57, was at the Fort Shafter, Shinseki said, he was integral part of the Army's transformation process, which began three years ago.

"Our Army found itself Eurocentric, disposed to heavy formations and consequently slow to deploy," Shinseki said.

Shinseki said the challenges of the Pacific region required that the Army become "more responsive, more agile, more versatile ... more deployable, lethal, survivability and sustainable."

Campbell had been stationed here for more than eight years as a battalion commander with the 25th Infantry Division; head of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting at Camp Smith and assistant Tropic Lightning Division commander.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --