FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood, one of the nation's largest Army installations and home to III Corps.
The nation's largest armored corps that has been under the command of Lieutenant General Pat White for the past few years.
A command he says has definitely come with its challenges, beginning with constant deployments within the Corps.
”Having an armored brigade combat team on the Korean Peninsula, having one armored brigade combat team in Europe, having an aviation brigade in CENTCOM, having an aviation brigade in Europe etc...,” said Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General. “Those units are on 9-month and 1-year rotations which means, somebody's coming back and trying to regenerate as a unit and somebody else is preparing to go.”
Constant deployments aren't the only challenges he is faced as commander, Fort Hood came under national scrutiny following the murder of Vanessa Guillen while he himself was deployed.
”Vanessa Guillen's brutal murder was part of other events that were occurring across the army but was the most prominent,” said Lt. Gen. White. “It was a wakeup call as you know Because when I came back, within days, I stood in front of the press and said hey, we're going to fix this.”
It wasn't just vanessa's murder systemic cultural issues had come to light and trust have been lost within the ranks and with the community.
”In some places, in some formations, with our moms and dads and aunts and uncles, and even our soldiers,” said Lt. Gen. White. “We had lost that, and it was amplified because of that summer.”
On top of all that, COVID had taken the world by surprise and Lt. Gen. White. Had to keep his troops battle ready and safe at the same time.
”We weren't real sure what this virus was doing,” said Lt. Gen. White. “You know, how fast it could spread and how it could take down an entire formation in just a few days. A platoon could be decimated if you weren't following the protocols the CDC was recommending.”
Lt. Gen. White says each challenge was an opportunity to be better and prove the United States has the best army in the world.
”What can we do better? So, generally that always leads to a conversation of are we ready enough, are we doing the right things,” said Lt. Gen. White. “I mean, you can pick this army up today, go fight it and you would beat anybody out there.”
said Lt. Gen. White led III Corps and Fort Hood through some troubling times and now he is ready to leave them in what he says are very capable hands.