Soldiers and community members gathered at the III Corps headquarters flag pole April 12 to welcome the new Fort Hood and III Corps commanding general.
“It’s great to be back at The Great Place,” said Gen. Robert B. Abrams, U.S. Forces Command commanding general,in his opening remarks. He spoke highly of the support demonstrated by the communities surrounding Fort Hood and thanked the soldiers and families – who sacrifice so much for their country.
As is tradition during a change of command ceremony, Abrams passed the III Corps colors from outgoing commander Lt. Gen Sean B. MacFarland to incoming commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk.
The passing of the colors represents the passing of allegiance of soldiers assigned to the unit.
“It has been an absolute thrill and whatever else I go on to do in the Army or in life, this time will be hard to beat,” said MacFarland in his last address to the Fort Hood and III Corps community. “I realize that I didn’t get here on ability. I’ve been blessed by God with unique opportunities.”
MacFarland went on to thank his leadership, subordinates, the “countless dedicated and courageous soldiers;” and his own “amazing Army family.”
“III Corps has been commanded down through the years by many distinguished leaders and today we celebrate the arrival of yet another by the name of Paul Funk,” he continued. “He is a worthy — more than worthy — successor to my predecessors and I know he will protect and build upon the proud legacy of America’s only Armored Corps.”
As Funk addressed the community for the first time as commanding general, he introduced himself by saying “My name is Paul Funk and I am a Phantom Warrior.
“You see, unlike most, I have been a Phantom Warrior my entire life,” said Funk “I was born here at Fort Hood and started out as an Iron baby, since my parents were in the 1st Armored Division.”
Funk and his wife, Beth, were married at 1st Cavarly Chapel and their three children graduated from local high schools.
Funk’s last assignment was in the Pentagon as assistant deputy chief of staff for the Army.
“I believe in being Phantom ready and Phantom strong,” he continued and explained that through hard work, discipline and teamwork Fort Hood will remain ready and strong.
Funk arrived on Fort Hood earlier this year and signed III Corps assumption-of-command orders on March 31, which is the official date when he took command of III Corps. The corps includes military units at Fort Hood; Fort Bliss; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Riley, Kan.
He previously served as III Corps chief of staff and as brigade commander with the 1st Cavalry Division.
Beth was an assistant principal at Meadows Elementary School the last time the couple was stationed at Fort Hood and recently opened a new business in Killeen.
Paul Funk’s father is retired Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk, who led III Corps and Fort Hood in the mid-1990s. The elder Funk currently lives in the Gatesville area.
Prior to the change of command ceremony, MacFarland was presented an end-of-tour medal in the West Atrium of the III Corps headquarters followed by a promotion ceremony for Funk to lieutenant general.
MacFarland’s wife, Lynda, was also honored for her contributions to soldiers, families and the community.
MacFarland took command of III Corps and Fort Hood on Aug. 8, 2014.
During his term as III Corps commander, MacFarland and about 500 other Fort Hood soldiers deployed to Kuwait and Iraq for a year to head up the coalition effort to fight the Islamic State group.
During the deployment, the task force trained more than 13,500 members of the Iraq Security Forces, who liberated more than 700,000 Iraqi civilians from IS control, MacFarland said.
MacFarland’s next assignment will be at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., where he will be deputy commander and chief of staff for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.