STUTTGART, Germany -- Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., a Fort Hood, Texas-based commander, has been nominated to lead U.S. Army Europe, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Thursday.
If confirmed, Campbell, who now heads up III Corps at Fort Hood, will replace Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling.
Campbell’s nomination comes at a time of great change for USAREUR, which has steadily shrunk since the end of the Cold War. USAREUR is poised to inactivate two of Europe’s four Army brigades, starting later this year with the 170th Infantry Brigade in Baumholder, a small garrison town that has hosted an Army brigade for more than half a century.
USAREUR also is preparing to move its headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden, a move expected to be completed by the fall of 2013.
"LTG Hertling knows LTG Campbell from a number of previous assignments serving together, and believes this is an excellent nomination by the President," Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, USAREUR spokeswoman said in a statement Friday. "LTG Hertling is currently declining to talk about his plans for the future, as he feels there is much more to do in the service of the Soldiers and families of USAREUR prior to the anticipated fall change of command date."
Hertling, who took command of USAREUR in March 2011, has overseen much of the planning for those changes. He also was the first three-star general to command USAREUR since the 1950s. It was a change prompted by a reduced troop presence in Europe and a reflection of the need to save resources.
During a June 14 celebration of the Army’s 237th birthday, Hertling spoke about some of those changes during a ceremony in Wiesbaden.
“USAREUR has become an organization which is all muscle, no fat, and we partner with our European allies to build forces that fight above our weight class,” he said. “We do that through training, exercises, exchanges and by building trust.”
Campbell, who has commanded troops in Iraq and units across the United States, also has spent some time in Europe.
“The Army has asked me to command in Europe, and if confirmed by Congress, I will go with open arms and continue to serve to the best of my ability,” Campbell said in a statement posted on Fort Hood’s website.
If confirmed, Campbell will inherit a different USAREUR than the one he served during the 1980s.
From more than 200,000 soldiers at the end of the Cold War, USAREUR plans to have about 30,000 soldiers by 2015. While soldiers used to be fanned out across hundreds of facilities in the 1980s, they’ll be stationed at seven remaining communities by 2015.
Campbell, who was commissioned as an armor officer in May 1978, was assigned to Army units in Bad Kreuznach and Mainz, Germany, during the mid-80s. Those armor and infantry units were disbanded years ago.
Campbell also served in the late 1990s as deputy director of staff operations for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.
Campbell has served as the III Corps and Fort Hood commander since April 2011.
-- Stars and Stripes reporter Matt Millham contributed to this report.