View Full Version : Senate confirms first Marine to lead EUCOM

10-04-02, 11:04 AM
ARLINGTON, Va. - The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Marine Commandant Gen. James Jones as Commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, making him the first Marine to be in charge of U.S. military operations in Europe and much of Africa.

And, in choosing a successor for Jones, the Senate confirmed Lt. Gen. Michael Hagee, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in California, to become the Corps' 33rd commandant. Hagee's fourth star will be pinned on him when he assumes the post during a change-of-command ceremony set for the second week in January.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked Jones, 55, because of Jones' innovative and sometimes eccentric ways, Washington insiders say. Jones also supports Rumsfeld's thinking when it comes to transforming the military.

Jones will succeed Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, and not only will become the first Marine to hold the post, but also the first to continue his military career after serving as the Corps' commandant. Previous commandants retired following their service.

Jones is "humbled by the faith shown in him by the president and Senate and looks forward to the challenges ahead," said Jones' spokesman, Maj. Matthew McLaughlin.

Jones has served in the Marine Corps since 1967. He assumed duties as 32nd commandant on July 1, 1999, and his career has taken him all over the world, including Okinawa, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.

In his new role, which he is set to assume in January, Jones will be responsible for coordinating and conducting all U.S. military operations in 91 countries that make up the Area of Responsibility.

In addressing senators' questions as to why he thinks he is qualified for the job, Jones listed first his service as commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and participation in Operation Provide Comfort during the Kurdish relief effort in 1991, the military's largest humanitarian peace operation at the time.

He also had served in Bosnia and Herzegovina for two years beginning in 1992, and in Macedonia.

Hagee, 57, has been in his current position in California since July 7, 2000. His command assignments include a platoon, two rifle companies and a headquarters and service company during tours on Okinawa and in Vietnam, according to a part of his biography.

He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in engineering and master's degrees in electrical engineering and national security and strategic studies.

Hagee is on a promotion board for the next two weeks and was not available for comment.