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Former Ivy leader headed to Pentagon

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Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:53 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By James David

Killeen Daily Herald

Lt. Gen. James D. Thurman, who commanded Fort Hood's 4th Infantry Division from 2004-06, turned over the reins of the Army's V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany, Wednesday to Lt. Gen. Kenneth W. Hunzeker in a change of command ceremony.

The turnaround for another assignment came quickly for Thurman, who had been in command since January. Thurman will soon become the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations and plans.

In an interview with the Killeen Daily Herald after the ceremony, Thurman reflected on his past two assignments, his new one and his adopted Central Texas home.

"I will be responsible for advising the Army's Chief of Staff (Gen.) George Casey on operations, training and force structure," Thurman said.

In addition, he will serve as the principal adviser to the chief of staff on National Security Council matters.

Thurman said that even though the U.S. is debating war policy and the upcoming national elections, soldiers need to remain focused on their mission.

"The way I see it, we have to win this deal," he said. "Dialogue and debate are always good for the country."

Thurman added that the military doesn't get to pick and choose the wars it fights but executes the mission to the best of its ability.

Thurman said it takes time to build a democracy.

"The military can do only so much out there. It's an Iraqi government for the people and by the people and they have to step up to the plate," he said.

In addition to commanding the 4th Infantry in Iraq from 2005-06, Thurman was the chief of operations of coalition Land Forces Component Command during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Thurman said it will be an exciting time to be back in Washington, with the ongoing combat operations and the Army's transformation. He served at the Pentagon from 2003-04 as director of the Army's Aviation Task Force, a post he continued until he arrived at Fort Hood in 2004.

Thurman said he was fortunate to have a great team in Germany, and he will miss the people.

"We just finished resetting the V Corps for deployment missions again, so it's hard to leave. The thing I'll miss about being here is commanding soldiers," he said. "I feel confident that I've left the corps ready for whatever missions their country asks of them."

Thurman and his wife, Dee, eventually plan on retiring to their Salado home.

"Fort Hood is a wonderful place," Thurman said. "We built our home there in Salado and have many great friends there in the Fort Hood/Killeen area."

On returning to Central Texas, he said, "We think about y'all a lot and can't wait to get back."

Contact James David at jdavid@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7463

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