Champoux takes charge


POSTED: Saturday, February 20, 2010

Army Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux became the 46th commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division yesterday, returning to Schofield Barracks, where he first led a battalion of infantry soldiers 14 years ago.

Champoux, who was commissioned in 1977, told the Tropic Lightning soldiers standing in formation before him at Schofield's Sills Field that they all “;stand on the deeds and sacrifices of those who came before us.”;

“;They are our legacy, the soul of this division, and have produced an incredible, rich tradition of reliable, faithful, dedicated and honorable service to our nation. I will not let them down.”;

Champoux was assistant 25th Infantry Division commander in charge of support in 2003. He returned to Hawaii after serving as chief legislative liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Army in Washington, D.C.

He replaced Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., who commanded the division since May 2008. Caslen and his family will move to Kansas, where he will be the next commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. The new job also means a third star for Caslen, whose promotion was approved by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 2.

Both Champoux and Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general of all Army troops in the Pacific, paid tributes to former Army Chief of Staff Fred Weyand, who also commanded the 25th Division in 1964 and moved to Hawaii when he retired in 1976. Weyand, 93, died at his home last Saturday. A funeral service will be held for him at 3 p.m. Friday at Central Union Church. Interment will take place the following day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

Mixon also said that Caslen “;exemplifies all that is right and good with the Army.”;

Mixon noted that Caslen followed him as commander of the 25th Division at a critical period and ensured the continued success in dealing with Iraqi insurgents that was brought about by the “;surge”; of U.S. troops in 2007.

Before yesterday's change of command, which took place under intermittent rain showers, Mixon awarded Caslen with the Legion of Merit medal, saying Caslen was an Army leader with “;the wisdom of Solomon”; who was able to see “;through the fog of activity and the fog of war.”;

Caslen, who has been in the Army for 34 years, took 4,500 soldiers from Schofield Barracks in October 2008, including its 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and became the leader of 20,000 coalition troops in Multi-National Division North, near Tikrit in northern Iraq.