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H.R. McMaster Jr. assumes command of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning

Minutes after he was promoted to major general, H.R. McMaster Jr. assumed command of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning today during a ceremony at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.

“Veterans, soldiers, I am proud to be the newest member of this team,” McMaster told hundreds of community leaders and soldiers gathered at Soldier Field.

McMaster, a native of Philadelphia, took over the command from Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, who has been promoted to lieutenant general and reasssigned to command I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

The new commander recognized Joe Galloway, an award-winning journalist and former McClatchy columnist who co-authored the book “We Were Soldiers Once and Young,” and an Iraqi general who supported the United States in rooting out terrorists in Tal Afar.

Galloway described McMaster as a superb soldier, an officer he has known since 1991 in the Gulf War.

“He is one of those rare birds who is a warrior and scholar,” Galloway said after the ceremony. “He has a Ph.D in military history. He  fouught the most significant tank battle of the Gulf War as a captain. He wiped out a brigade of T-72 tanks in 21 minutes without a single American casualty.”

 McMaster is good in all kinds of directions as a soldier. In Galloway's last outing as a journalist, he said McMaster also had success leading the 3rd Armored Cavalry in Iraq in 2006.

“He had the most significant success of clearing the entire city of Al-Qaeda," he said. "They ran that town when he came in and he cleaned them out,” Galloway said.