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Generals from NH in change of command

New Hampshire Sunday News

March 15. 2014 6:24PM
Gen. Robert W. Cone hands off the unit's flag to Gen. David G. Perkins during ceremonies on Friday. (Courtesy)

One decorated New Hampshire military man is replacing another as commander of the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

In a change of command ceremony held Friday at Fort Eustis, Va., Gen. David G. Perkins, who grew up in Keene, assumed command of TRADOC from Gen. Robert W. Cone, a Manchester native.

Perkins, who until recently was Commanding General of the Army's Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, became famous for his leadership during the daring "Thunder Run" into Baghdad in April, 2003.

Perkins was then commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade. Under his direction, the American soldiers cut through the Iraqi defense perimeter and Baghdad fell in a day.

Perkins was promoted to four-star general prior to

four-star general prior to the change-of-command ceremony.

Cone, who commanded TRADOC since April, 2011, is a graduate of Manchester Memorial High School (1975) and West Point.

He officially retires on Monday after 34 years of distinguished service.

A ceremony is planned at Fort Myer in Virginia.

In an email, Perkins praised Cone's "outstanding leadership" during a time of transition out of two wars, "from an Army of execution to an Army of preparation."

"It is a huge honor to replace Gen. Cone, who has set the bar so high," he said.

Asked about the challenges facing the leaner Army envisioned in proposed Department of Defense cuts, Perkins wrote, "The challenge the Army will have is to be informed by our time in Iraq and Afghanistan but not captured by it.

"Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us the Army doesn't get to pick what wars it wants to fight and we cannot be a 'one-trick pony.'"

Instead, he said, the Army "has to do it all, anywhere, anytime."

"As the Army becomes smaller in size and budget, we must still be able to provide a full range of military options to our nation.

"We have always depended on great leaders to do that and we will continue to focus on leader development and ensure our soldiers have the best leaders in the world," Perkins said.

Cone has held command positions during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was widely praised for his calm and compassionate leadership as commander of Fort Hood in 2009, after an Army psychiatrist opened fire, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and injuring 32 others at the Texas base.

At a memorial service for the victims, Cone praised the courage of soldiers who during the attack rushed to "do what soldiers do best: to take care of one another."

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