Killeen-Fort Hood area military experts said Monday they were pleased with President Donald J. Trump’s pick of current Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Milley, a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander, will replace Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as the senior military advisor to the president.
“I am pleased to announce my nomination of four-star Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army — as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing General Joe Dunford, who will be retiring,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined.”
While it’s good that Milley has close ties to Fort Hood, his care of troops and their families is what will make him best for the job of taking care of all members of the armed forces, said retired Lt. Gen. Pete Taylor, a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander who lives in Harker Heights.
“He will do a great job. I had the pleasure of working closely with him when he was III Corps commander and when he was the (Forces Command) commander,” Taylor said. “Milley is an outstanding chance to take over. He’s a soldier’s soldier and will do what’s best for the total force.
“I’m a big supporter of Gen. Milley and am very pleased to see him nominated.”
In a Saturday release, U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R–Austin, who represents Fort Hood, said Milley was the best choice to fill the position.
“I first met Gen. Mark A. Milley when he was named commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood in Texas’ 25th District. Since then, I have come to know him not only as a first-rate military leader, but as a friend,” said Williams. “Gen. Milley is the definition of a true American patriot, and President Trump could not have picked a better individual to serve as our country’s highest-ranking military officer.”
Having an alumni of III Corps go on to not only become the Army chief of staff but also the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a good thing, said retired Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk Sr., a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander himself.
“I think he is better at communicating and delivering the message of our military,” said Funk, who lives in the Gatesville area. “He’s a terrific communicator, especially when it comes to military performance and the dedication to something bigger — selfless service.”
The fact Milley also has a lot of combat experience lends him more credence as chairman, Funk said, because having to make decisions in combat is an important and critical skill for senior leaders in all branches of the military.
“Good luck to him and I wish him well,” said Funk, father of the current III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II. “I’m real proud of his successes.”
Belton resident retired Lt. Gen. Dave Palmer, a former commandant of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, said he doesn’t know Milley very well but is happy to see an Army officer moving into the position as chairman.
“He has a good reputation, a good background in special forces and he has done well here at Hood and in his other positions,” Palmer said. “It makes sense, what with the way the world is going, to put an Army officer in the position.”