News: 82nd Airborne Division change of command
Pfc. Jacqueline M. Pryor
82nd Public Affairs Office
FORT BRAGG, NC (April 7, 2006)- The 82nd Airborne Division hosted a change of command ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday on Stang Field.
Maj. Gen. Bill Caldwell, 82nd Abn. Div. Commander, relinquished command to Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez during the ceremony.
"Maj. Gen. Caldwell demonstrated the readiness of the Division time and time again," said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, Commander XVIII Airborne Corps. "Over 13,000 Paratroopers have deployed during Caldwell's tour of duty in the 82nd."
In May 2003, Caldwell assumed command of the All-American Division and continued to deploy battalion-sized elements to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Caldwell deployed the Division to New Orleans to provide support during Hurricane Relief Operations after Hurricane Katrina struck in September 2005, where he commanded Task Force All American.
Task Force All American rescued 901 persons and 32 pets from flooded in New Orleans; and also evacuated 4, 906 persons and 155 pets through the All American Evacuation site, located at the New Orleans Convention Center.
Through no-notice deployments and the modular change of the Division, Caldwell was the best man for the job, said Vines.
"As I look out at the formation today, it has changed a lot since I took command two years ago," Caldwell said during the change of command ceremony.
The Division had the right person commanding when the modular change took place. Caldwell leads as a high quality example, Vines said.
"As Maj. Gen. Rodriguez takes command from Maj. Gen. Caldwell, I know he is the right man for the job," Vines said.
"After watching him for the past 20 years, no one, no one, is better qualified to assume command of this division," Vines said.
Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry from the United States Military Academy in 1976 and his first tour in the Division was served as 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment's Operations and Executive officer, where he deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
In 1997, Rodriguez returned to the 82nd Airborne Division to assume command of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
Rodriguez's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star (one oak leaf cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.
"I am greatly honored to be standing here today and look forward to serving with this extraordinary division."