On his 32nd day back from Iraq, Lt. Gen. David G. Perkins stood before a crowded auditorium at Fort Leavenworth and vowed to focus on the future of the Army for those fighting abroad.
“Thousands and thousands and thousands of people are expecting us to get after this, to get after the future,” Perkins said.
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On Tuesday, Perkins, a three-star U.S. Army general, assumed his role as commander of the U.S. Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.
He will helm the military installation’s Combined Arms Center, including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, which Perkins attended in the early 2000s. The center is specifically charged with training and education in military leadership.
“The Army’s leaders learn their trade here,” said four-star U.S. Army General Robert W. Cone, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
With the war in Iraq drawing to a close in about seven weeks, Cone and Perkins spoke about creating the “Army of 2020.”
“The Combined Arms Center will chart the Army’s course through the future,” Cone said.
During his most recent stint as a division commander in Iraq, Perkins had lunch with deployed soldiers. During a recent conversation, one soldier asked what he’d be doing once he returned to the U.S.
“I was encouraged by the fact that he thought I’d be getting another job with the Army,” Perkins said, earning a chuckle from the crowd.
Perkins said when he learned about his new position, the soldier and others he talked to started giving him a to-do list for when he started work at Fort Leavenworth.
“They were invested in our institution,” he said. “They were very much concerned with the future, not that it wasn’t going to go well but that someone is working on this.”
It was the best preparation possible for his new job because it put things into context, he said. He called for those at the installation to remember that their work at the Combined Arms Center is more than just a “to-do list of our own personal movement forward.”
During his career, Perkins commanded a brigade that moved into Iraq in 2003, including an armored assault on Baghdad in April 2003.
Perkins also served as executive assistant to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C. and spokesman for Multi-National Force Iraq in Baghdad. Most recently, he was the commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson.
Also assuming a new role was Command Sgt. Major Christopher K. Greca, the principal adviser to Perkins.
Perkins described him as a “warrior’s warrior, a soldier’s soldier.”
Greca has been deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. He comes from the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum where he was the command sergeant major.
“He has had five combat tours in the last decade,” Cone said. “Life as the son of a soldier is never easy.”
Greca and his wife, Darena, are parents to three sons.
Perkins and his wife, Ginger, have two children, who are living a military-focused life. Their daughter, Cassandra, is an Army aviator and is deployed to Afghanistan. Their son, Chad, is a cadet at West Point Military Academy, his father’s alma mater.