Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges took command of U.S. Army Europe during a ceremony Wednesday in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Hodges succeeds Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, who is retiring.

Hodges most recently commanded NATO's Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey.

The top U.S. general in Europe praised both Hodges and Campbell for their leadership.

"All great units require a carefully chosen leader to replace departing ones, and the Army has done us an incredible service, again, by selecting [Lt. Gen.] Ben Hodges to assume the coveted reins of USAREUR," said Air Force Gen. Phillip Breedlove, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander - Europe, and commander of U.S. European Command, according to an Army news story. "Ben comes to us with an incredible reputation and proven multinational experience that will fit perfectly in this unit."

In his last remarks as commander, Campbell praised his soldiers' dedication to the mission, according to the Army story.

"I think the luckiest soldier here today is my good friend Lieutenant General Ben Hodges," Campbell said. "You are joining a great team of teams. To the USAREUR teams, know you are gaining a great, proven leader in Ben Hodges."

Hodges, a 1980 West Point graduate, said Army Europe will "continue to be ready, reliable" and "we will continue to be prepared to win in a complex world."

Wednesday's change of command follows remarks by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, who is visiting troops in Germany, about the service's footprint in Europe.

Speaking to German media, Odierno said the Army has no plans to withdraw any more troops from the country, Stars and Stripes reported. He also said the number of U.S. soldiers in the region could grow as the Army sends more regionally aligned forces to train and exercise with its European partners and allies on a rotational basis, the newspaper reported.

In the last few years, the Army has inactivated two brigade combat teams and reduced its footprint in Europe by about 10,000 soldiers, bringing the number of soldiers stationed there to about 30,000.

"The Army itself has reduced significantly in Europe already, and we're probably about as low as we can go," Odierno said, according to Stars and Stripes.

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