Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, currently the commandant of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will lead the 1st Cavalry Division, replacing the current commander, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Bills, the Defense Department announced last week.
Bills is heading to South Korea to become assistant chief of staff, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea.
The division said the change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 7 at Fort Hood.
Thomson is currently the commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, one of West Point’s top positions, where he oversees discipline and training for the academy’s approximately 4,200 cadets.
Thomson is from Tyler, about 190 miles northeast of Killeen, and began his career in the Army as an artillery officer in 1986.
He was stationed at Fort Hood previously. From 1998 to 2003, he was with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, were he held multiple positions, including the division’s deputy chief of staff. From 2009 to 2011, Thomson returned to Fort Hood to command the 41st Fires Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
Thomson has also been stationed overseas.
“His initial assignment was with the 6th Battalion, 41st Field Artillery in Germany in the 3rd Infantry Division from 1987 to 1990 including duty as Cannon Platoon Leader, Battery Executive Officer and Support Platoon Leader.
From 1991 to 1992, he served in staff assignments with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Nuremburg, Germany, then later with the 1st Armored Division Artillery in Baumholder, Germany,” according to his official Army biography. “Thomson commanded Bravo Battery, 4th Battalion, 29th Field Artillery in the 1st Armored Division from 1992 to 1994, then served as a tactical officer in the U.S. Corps of Cadets at West Point, New York until 1997.”
Following his first assignment at Fort Hood, Thomson commanded the 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla., from 2003 to 2005. Following battalion command, he served on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, extensively interacting with the U.S. Department of State on national security affairs.
“From May 2007 to February 2008, he served as executive officer to the commanding general of Multi-National Corps in Baghdad, Iraq.
He later headed the Commander’s Initiatives Group for Multi-National Forces-Iraq from October 2008 to January 2009,” according to the bio.
Following his brigade command at Fort Hood, Thomson became the director of the Chief’s Coordination Group for the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army until March 2013.
From April 2013 to July 2014, he served as Deputy Commanding General for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., before being stationed at West Point.
The new commandant at West Point will be Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland, the first female officer in that position.
Thomson is a 1986 graduate of West Point, and he has a Master of Science from Long Island University.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab.