By Emily Baker
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – Just the other day, Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil and his wife were stopped in traffic by a stark reminder that the division he commands soon is heading to Iraq.
The train chugging along in front of him that carried the vehicles of the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team to the coast for shipment to the Middle East proved how imminent the deployment is, Fil said Thursday.
The man in charge of that movement and someone Fil called "a solid gold general officer" was officially welcomed to the 1st Cavalry on Thursday, though he has been working with the division since early June.
Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks was formally introduced as the assistant division commander for support to the division and community with a patch ceremony at Cooper Field.
This is Brooks' fourth assignment with the 1st Cavalry, which is scheduled to be in Baghdad by the end of the year.
"This was a great division when I was in it," Brooks said. "Now, my goodness. I can't even describe it, it's so great."
Brooks also has served as the division's senior plans officer and the operations officer for the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Brigade.
His responsibility now of getting pieces of the division to the right place at the right time is "like moving an entire city clear across the world," he said. "It's too much for anyone but professionals to handle."
Fil said he is confident in Brooks' abilities and complimented Brooks' intelligence and experience. As word of Brooks' arrival spread, chattering across post, including among National Guardsmen training at North Fort Hood from as far away as Massachusetts, indicated Brooks' reputation is one of being a smart leader.
Fil said Brooks' level of expertise is rare for a brigadier general because most general officers do not work in such a variety of areas until their second and third stars.
Brooks was the face of the opening of the Iraq war as the chief operations spokesman for U.S. Central Command. He also served as the Army's chief of public affairs.
He has been the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations, aide-de-camp to the Army's vice chief of staff, deputy director for Politico-Military Affairs for the Western Hemisphere at the Pentagon and deputy director for the war on terrorism with the Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate.
Having Brooks assigned to the 1st Cavalry is "hugely helpful," Fil said. "He is a bright, hard-working guy. We are delighted to have him back on the team."
Brooks was commissioned after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned a master's degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College School of Advanced Military Studies. He was a National Security Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Brooks succeeds Brig. Gen. William Troy as the assistant division commander for support. Troy is now deputy commander of I Corps and Fort Lewis, Wash.
Contact Emily Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org