Herald/DAVID MORRIS - Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, addresses members of the media Tuesday during his quarterly luncheon.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur L. Coleman Jr. will assume responsibility as III Corps' and Fort Hood's senior noncommissioned officer Sept. 22.

That is when he and Maj. Gen. (promotable) Robert W. Cone will take over for Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch and Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola. Lynch and Ciotola will go on to lead Installation Management Command.

Lynch talked about Coleman and Cone and other Fort Hood events and issues during a meeting with members of the local media Tuesday afternoon at Club Hood.

Coleman recently returned from Afghanistan, where he served as senior noncommissioned officer of Command Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. He took the job at Fort Hood knowing he would deploy to Iraq early next year with III Corps, Lynch said.

Coleman's Army career began in 1978 and he has served as the top enlisted soldier for the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Joint Readiness Training Center, Operations Group, Fort Polk, La.; and 82nd Airborne Division Rear Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C., according to his biography.

Lynch and Cone talk daily, as do Ciotola and Coleman, the general said Tuesday. Lynch said he does little without asking Cone's opinion. Cone has preceded Lynch in four previous positions. He has endorsed Lynch's projects and initiatives at Fort Hood and is excited about the opportunity to continue them, Lynch said.

Lynch has refused to start his farewells because there is so much he still wants to do, he said. That includes three major efforts: the resiliency campus, the Gold Star Family Support Center and the Education Task Force.

Also discussed:

The 4th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade. Rumors again have surfaced of the brigade relocating to Fort Bliss before its next deployment. Lynch said the brigade is set to deploy to Iraq in about 12 months and will begin a move to Fort Bliss after returning.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). Maj. Gen. Keith Lee Thurgood, AAFES commander, is set to visit Fort Hood in two weeks, Lynch said. Lynch and local community members will show Thurgood what Fort Hood and the area have to offer. Lynch talked in June about AAFES headquarters' possible relocation from Dallas to Central Texas. He told Thurgood that Fort Hood would be an ideal location because in three years, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center will occupy its new facility, leaving the current building empty. That would be a perfect AAFES headquarters, Lynch said in June.

That move would bring 3,600 employees and a two-star general command to the area, Lynch said Tuesday. The move hasn't been confirmed, but Lynch said "it's moving in the right direction."

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547.

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