Special Forces gets new Leader

Special Forces Command (Airborne)

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

15  May 2003

Brig. Gen. Gary M. Jones has been chosen to lead U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, the Army announced Wednesday.



He will replace Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Lambert, who will take command of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.

Jones and Lambert were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Lambert will replace Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin as commander of the JFK Center. Boykin's next assignment has not been announced.

The JFK Center trains about 15,000 students annually in Special Forces, civil affairs, psychological operations and other areas of special operations.

The date for the changes has not been announced.

Lambert took command of the Army's Green Berets four days before the Sept. 11. terrorist attacks. His Special Forces soldiers played key roles in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Iraq war, more A-teams were in that country than in Vietnam during the height of the that war, he said. At the same time, Special Forces soldiers were deploying to the Philippines, Colombia, Afghanistan, Djibouti and other places.

9,500 soldiers, civilians

Special Forces Command oversees about 9,500 soldiers and civilian employees. Green Berets are assigned to Special Forces groups that focus on a particular geographic region. The soldiers are trained in the language and culture of that region and learn to operate in the climate and terrain.

Jones is commander of Special Operations Command Europe, which is part of U.S. European Command in Germany.

From 2000 to 2002 he was deputy commanding general and chief of staff of U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He also served as deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and commander of Combined Joint Task Force Mountain in Afghanistan.

He graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1982 and has since commanded at every level in Special Forces. 

''Gary Jones is an incredible professional soldier, a wonderful individual and a soldier's soldier,'' said Tommy Bolton, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army. 

Jones' first Special Forces assignment was as an A-team leader in 5th Group at Fort Bragg from 1983 to 1984. He commanded the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from 1998 to 2000. While Jones was in command, the group helped train African soldiers for peacekeeping missions on their continent as part of the African Crisis Response Initiative. The group trained in Senegal, Mali, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Uganda and Malawi.

''His first and foremost thought is always for the welfare of the command and the soldiers serving in the command. He's a great mentor.''

Lambert was commander of the 10th Special Forces Group during its move from Fort Devens, Mass., to Fort Carson, Colo., and commanding general, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe.

''He has an abundance of capability, experience and talent that he can take to the Special Warfare Center to help train tomorrow's special operators,'' Bolton said. ''Lambert is the preeminent quiet professional, the silent warrior.''

Csrnko replaces Jones

Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko will replace Jones at Special Operations Command Europe. Csrnko is chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kuwait. He has helped guide the training and doctrine of Special Forces as assistant commandant of the JFK Center.

By Henry Cuningham Military editor

Copyright 2003 The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer

Return To Index