One of the Army’s largest commands on Friday welcomed a new four-star commander.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley hosted the ceremony.
“This day is not so much about Dave Perkins or Steve Townsend,” Milley said, according to a press release from TRADOC. “This day is really about the tremendous and great work that Training and Doctrine Command does.”
Milley praised Perkins’ leadership, highlighting how he helped shape how the Army will fight and win in the future through the Multi-Domain Battle concept.
But TRADOC’s greatest contribution to the Army, Milley said, is the training of its soldiers.
“TRADOC recruits and accesses 120,000 soldiers every year,” Milley said, according to the press release. “Think about that. That number is larger than the British, Canadian and Australian armies combined. That number is 75 percent of the entire Marine Corps.”
Perkins is retiring from the Army after 38 years of service. He will be honored March 9 in Washington, D.C.
Townsend, an infantry officer, has led and commanded soldiers at every level. He most recently commanded the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He led the corps headquarters to Iraq from August 2016 to September 2017, and served as commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.
In a separate ceremony on Thursday, TRADOC’s deputy commanding general, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, retired after 37 years of service.
MacFarland, who served in armor and cavalry units throughout his career, commanded 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, and his work led to the so-called “Sunni Awakening,” which helped Iraqi and U.S. troops secure Anbar province.
He later commanded III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, and was commanding general for CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve.
MacFarland was succeeded by Lt. Gen. Theodore Martin.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.