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Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:10 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

Army and Air Force pilots stood by for confirmation. Hundreds of uniformed soldiers prepared to take the parade field. VIPs from across Central Texas donned their Sunday best. The Army's newest three-star general was ready to take command.

Mother Nature had different plans.

Cold morning rain forced the III Corps' change of command ceremony from Sadowski Field to Abrams Field House Sept. 22 as Lt. Gen. Robert Cone took over for Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch at Fort Hood.

Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola also relinquished responsibility of the corps and post to Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Coleman Jr. during the ceremony.

Lynch and Ciotola will go on to lead Installation Management Command (IMCOM), which is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Cone previously served as special assistant to the commander at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., where he was responsible for officer and enlisted initial military training, according to information from Fort Hood.

Like Lynch, Cone's first duty station upon his commissioning was at Fort Hood. He served with the 2nd Armored Division's Combat Service Support and Delta company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment. He later served as a 4th Infantry Division staff officer and brigade commander.

This is the fourth time Cone has followed Lynch at an assignment.

Coleman served as Cone's top noncommissioned officer in Afghanistan, and Coleman recently returned from a deployment there.

Coleman's Army career began in 1978 and he has served as the senior noncommissioned officer for the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Joint Readiness Training Center, Operations Group, Fort Polk, La.; and 82nd Airborne Division Rear Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C., according to his biography.

Though no official orders have been released by the Defense Department, Cone and Lynch talked Sept. 22 about the corps' upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Cone takes command of the corps, which has a strength of more than 57,000 soldiers as of last week. About 37,000 of those are at Fort Hood. More than 18,500 of Fort Hood's troops are deployed to Iraq and more than 1,000 are in Afghanistan.

Preparing the corps for combat has been one of two major priorities for Lynch at Fort Hood since he took command from Gen. Raymond Odierno last summer. His effort was devoted to overseeing training and taking care of soldiers and families, he said at the ceremony.

Lynch has carried through on his commitment to make the "Great Place" greater, Gen. Charles C. Campbell, U.S. Forces Command commander, said of Lynch's work at Fort Hood. Lynch said that if he could choose anyone to take his place at Fort Hood, Cone would be it. Cone said later III Corps will continue to be the "Family First Corps."

Lynch's new position in Washington has two roles. He will be the "Army's single authority and primary provider of base support services while also being responsible for providing effective garrison support of mission activities," according to information from IMCOM's Web site.

The command oversees installation management, which includes construction; barracks and family housing; soldier and family morale, welfare and recreation programs; logistics; public works and installation funding, according to a March 2009 IMCOM report.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547.

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