By Ed Brock
When Lt. Gen. Joseph Inge took command of the First U.S. Army only a few weeks had passed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As he turned over command of the First Army, dedicated to preparing Army Reserve troops for combat, in a ceremony Thursday morning, Inge did not list any of his own accomplishments as the thing that made him most proud about his tenure.
"I'm most proud of America's sons and daughters," Inge said. "I believe with a passion that 20 years from now when these young people are leaders of our nation that our nation will be very well led."
Ushering in the change of command with thundering cannons and the ritual passing of the flag, soldiers and civilians gathered on Hedekin Field at Army Garrison Fort McPherson in Atlanta to bid farewell to Inge and welcome incoming commander Maj. Gen. Russel L. Honor?.
The country's situation hasn't changed much since Inge took command, said Gen. Dan K. McNeill, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. We are still a nation at war, McNeill said in opening the ceremony, and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future.
"That load hasn't only been carried by the U.S. First Army, but there can be no doubt that the First Army under the command of Gen. Joseph Inge has carried the lion's share," McNeill said.
Inge began his comments by asking those present to take a moment to remember those who are in combat.
"I would ask you every time you see a soldier, especially one who's coming back from the theater, reach out and hug ?em, thank them for the job they're doing," Inge said.
Honor? is a native of Lakeland, La. and prior to assuming command of the First Army he was commander of the Standing Joint Force Headquarters-Homeland Security under U.S. Northern Command.
"This is clearly a career highlight for me to be able to command the First Army and to follow such a great commander," Honor? said.
Honor? said one of his sons is about to be deployed to Iraq as a gunner on an Army Humvee.
"So I take this job close and personal," Honor? said.
Members of Honor?'s family came from the Baton Rouge, La. area to attend the ceremony.
"We think it's a great honor," said the general's brother Jude Honor?.
Honor?'s sister Lorraine Darensbourg said the ceremony was beautiful.
"It was wonderful weather," Darensbourg said.
And Honor?'s cousin C. Norman St. Amant, Jr. said he came not only as a family member but as a representative of Honor?'s alma mater Southern University of Baton Rouge.
"We couldn't be more elated with the trust and confidence that the nation has given to him," St. Amant said.
Inge will go on to be deputy commander of United States Northern Command and vice commander of the United States Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
The First Army is based at Fort McPherson's sub-facility Garrison Fort Gillem in Forest Park.