FORT HOOD — During a media event on post Monday, III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. fielded questions from area news agencies, gave a rough estimate on when his successor might be confirmed by Congress and said there is one thing he wonders about when he looks back at his tenure as the post commander: Could he have done a better job of helping soldiers prevent suicide?
Those were just a few of the highlights of the second III Corps media day held since Campbell took command in April 2011.
“We’re going to miss Fort Hood,” said Campbell, who is scheduled to relinquish command Wednesday. He called the post the “installation of choice” when it comes to Army training.
His new assignment will be as the commander of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army in Germany.
Maj. Gen. Mark Milley has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next Fort Hood commander, but Congress still needs to approve the nomination.
Current deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, Brig. Gen. James M. Richardson, will be the interim commander “until Gen. Milley is confirmed, which we expect in the next 30 days or so,” Campbell said.
Campbell praised the leadership on post for doing their jobs well and needing little supervision, and said the communities outside Fort Hood are great friends to the military.
“I can think of no greater community than the one right here in Central Texas,” he said. In one example Campbell cited, he said the community came together to provide clothes, furniture and other items soldiers lost in a tragic apartment fire in Killeen a few months ago.
“That happens every day for smaller incidents, when a soldier has an issue,” the three-star general said.
Campbell spoke on some of the highlights during his time as commander: the opening of the new Hood Stadium; establishing programs to combat sexual assault and domestic violence; and the fight against soldier suicides, which has been on the rise in recent years.
“One suicide is one too many,” Campbell said, adding he has been awakened by phone calls at 2 in the morning with news that a soldier has been found dead by apparent suicide.
“I always wonder what I could have done better to help them prevent that,” he said. “It’s the most challenging thing I have faced in 34 years in the Army.”
About 30 people, including journalists, Fort Hood public affairs officers and Fort Hood senior officers, attended the event held at Club Hood.