Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell will be sworn in as the Army's new vice chief of staff during a ceremony Friday at the Pentagon. (File)
The Army's new vice chief of staff will be sworn in during a ceremony Friday at the Pentagon.
Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell, who most recently served as the deputy chief of staff for operations (G-3), also will receive his fourth star.
His nomination to be the Army's vice chief of staff was approved March 5 by the Senate.
Campbell will succeed Gen. Lloyd Austin, who has been selected to lead Central Command.
Campbell takes on the Army's No. 2 job at a critical time for the service as it faces a budget crisis, a massive drawdown and reshaping of the force, and the challenges of transitioning from more than a decade of war.
Campbell, a former commander of the 101st Airborne Division who had originally been nominated to lead Forces Command, will manage the day-to-day running of the Army.
He also won't be the first to move from being the Army G-3 to the vice chief. Retired Gen. Richard Cody took that path, as did Gen. Eric Shinseki, who eventually retired after serving as chief of staff and is now secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Officers who have served with Campbell lauded his selection.
At least two officers who served as battalion commanders under Campbell in the 101st Airborne Division described him as approachable, thoughtful, supportive and decisive; the kind of leader soldiers would "fight to serve with."
A former personal staff officer added that Campbell still keeps cards with information on fallen soldiers from his time in Afghanistan, and he is known to review them daily as a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families.
Campbell's former bosses also praised his nomination.
"I think John Campbell is one of the finest officers I have ever known," retired Gen. Peter Schoomaker, former Army chief of staff, said in a statement to Army Times. "He has extraordinary judgment, extensive combat and troop-leading experience, and is uniquely qualified for the duties of [vice chief] during the challenging times the Army is now facing."
Campbell, who was Schoomaker's executive officer for part of his term as chief of staff, is a "soldier to the core," Schoomaker said.
Marine Gen. John Paxton, who recently became the deputy commandant of the Corps, served with Campbell in Iraq and on the Joint Staff.
Campbell has proven himself as a combat leader, Paxton said in a statement to Army Times, and his experience in the operations directorate of the Joint Staff and as the Army G-3 are "indicative of his complete grasp of force development and force management."
"These significant assignments, and his success in all of them, are a testament to [his] native skills, extensive experience, and proven leadership," Paxton said. "I look forward to once again working with and alongside him."
Campbell also is the right leader to "wrestle with the training and readiness challenges as well as the cost of war and human impact challenges the Army and all services will face in the days ahead," Paxton said.