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Lloyd J. Austin

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Lloyd J. Austin

Lloyd James Austin III
Austin in April 2013, during his tenure as the commander of U.S. Central Command.
Born (1953-08-08) 8 August 1953 (age 60)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.[1]
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1975–present
Rank General
Commands held

Lloyd James Austin III (born 8 August 1953) is a United States Army general. He is the 12th and current commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM). Austin is the first African American to ever head the organisation.[2] Prior to current assignment, General Austin served as the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from January 31, 2012 to March 8, 2013. His previous assignment was as the last Commanding General of United States Forces - Iraq, Operation New Dawn, which lasted until December 15, 2011. On December 6, 2012, the Pentagon announced that President Obama will nominate General Austin to lead the U.S. Central Command.[3] Austin was confirmed by the U. S. Senate on March 5, 2013, and assumed command on March 22, 2013. Of his service in Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said:

“During his final deployment to Iraq, Gen. Austin led our military efforts at a particularly important time, overseeing the drawdown of U.S. forces and equipment while simultaneously helping to ensure that hard-fought security gains were preserved and that Iraqis could secure and govern themselves.”

Early life and education

Austin was born on 8 August 1953 in Mobile, Alabama and raised in Thomasville, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) with a Bachelor of Science degree in June 1975. He also earned a Master's Degree in Education from Auburn University, and a Master's Degree in Business Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.


Austin was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduation from West Point. His initial assignment was to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader in A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry and Scout Platoon Leader in the Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry. Following this assignment and attendance at the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he commanded the Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry and served as the Assistant S-3 (Operations) for 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

In 1981, Austin was assigned to Indianapolis, Indiana where he served as the Operations Officer for the U.S. Army Indianapolis District Recruiting Command and later commanded a company in the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion. Upon completing this assignment, he attended Auburn University where he completed studies for a Master's Degree in Education. He was then assigned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he served as a Company Tactical Officer. After his selection and subsequent completion of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York, where he served as the S-3 (Operations) and later Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry. He subsequently served as Executive Officer for 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and later as Director of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security for Fort Drum, New York.

In 1993, Austin returned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He later served as the G-3 for the 82nd Airborne Division. Following graduation from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, he commanded the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Shortly after Brigade command, he was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. where he served as Chief, Joint Operations Division, J-3, on the Joint Staff. His next assignment was as Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia. As the ADC-M, he helped spearhead the division's invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Austin served from September 2003 until August 2005 as the Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), with duty as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force-180, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. His next position was Chief of Staff of the United States Central Command at MacDill AFB, in Tampa, Florida from September 2005 until October 2006.

On 8 December 2006, Austin was promoted to Lieutenant General, and assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In February 2008, Austin became the second highest ranking commander in Iraq, taking command of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I), replacing Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.[4][5] As commander of MNC-I, he directed the operations of approximately 152,000 joint and coalition forces in all sectors of Iraq.[6]

Austin handed over command of XVIII Corps to become Director of the Joint Staff in August 2009.

Commanding General of U.S. Forces Iraq

On 1 September 2010 he became Commanding General of U.S. Forces Iraq at a ceremony at the al-Faw palace in Bagdad, Iraq after the US combat missions ended. He took over from General Ray Odierno. Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen presided over the ceremony.[7] Lloyd Austin's deployment in Iraq finished on 18 December 2011.

Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army

Austin was nominated[8] and confirmed[9] on 14 December 2011 to be the next Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.[10] He took office as the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army on 31 January 2012.[11]

On 22 March 2013, he became the Commander of CENTCOM.

Awards and decorations

Combat Action Badge
Expert Infantryman Badge
Ranger tab
Master Parachutist Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
United States Central Command Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge
Combat Service Identification Badge
Distinctive Unit Insignia
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Army Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
60px Secretary's Distinguished Service Award, Department of State[12]
National Defense Service Medal with two Service Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon

2007 inductee to the Thomasville-Thomas County Sports Hall of Fame[13]



External links

  • Complete transcript and audio and video of Gen. Austin speech on assuming command of USF-I
Military offices
Preceded by
Franklin L. Hagenbeck
Commander, 10th Mountain Division
Succeeded by
Benjamin Freakley
Preceded by
John Vines
Commander, XVIII Airborne Corps
Succeeded by
Frank Helmick
Preceded by
Raymond Odierno
Commanding General, Multi-National Corps - Iraq
2008 – April 2009
Succeeded by
Charles Jacoby
Preceded by
Raymond Odierno
Commanding General, United States Forces - Iraq
September 1, 2010 – December 18, 2011
Succeeded by
None. Mission ended after the withdrawal of the last American troops.
Preceded by
Peter W. Chiarelli
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
January 31, 2012 – March 8, 2013
Succeeded by
John F. Campbell
Preceded by
James Mattis
Commander of United States Central Command
March 22, 2013 - present
Succeeded by
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