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Stars and Stripes May 5, 2005

V Corps explains appointment of a second deputy commander

By Nancy Montgomery

HEIDELBERG, Germany — U.S. Army Europe officials this week downplayed the unexpected appointment of a second deputy commander for V Corps.

“More than one deputy commander at a corps headquarters in a time of war is neither unprecedented nor unusual,” Col. Roger King, USAREUR spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “Generals Batiste and Hahn both bring unique competencies to the command as it forms, trains and ultimately deploys to combat.”

Maj. Gen. John Batiste, currently commander of the 1st Infantry Division — which recently returned from a year in Iraq — was named V Corps deputy commander on Friday.

His appointment came less than a month after Brig. Gen. Daniel Hahn — V Corps chief of staff during the Iraq invasion — was named to the position. Hahn took over from Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, who was the sole corps deputy commander as the corps went to war in Iraq.

But King said the 18th Airborne Corps, from which V Corps will take command when it deploys to Iraq, has four deputy commanders. Three are in Iraq, King said; one is at Fort Bragg, N.C.

When V Corps deploys to Iraq later this year, it will take command of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq and be responsible for all tactical and operational ground operations throughout the country, including security, helping integrate Iraqi security forces and reconstruction, King said.

According to Global Security.org, a Web site focusing on the military and security issues, Multi-National Corps-Iraq was “stood up” one year ago because of concerns that Combined Joint Task Force 7 headquarters couldn’t handle the range of military operations in Iraq — including peace support and civil military operations — and strategic engagement with sheiks and political authorities.

“Those are typically functions that are performed by two different headquarters,” according to the Web site.

“Multi-National Corps — Iraq conducts offensive operations to defeat remaining non-compliant forces and neutralize destabilizing influences in Iraq in order to create a secure environment. It concurrently conducts stability operations to support the establishment of government, the restoration of essential services, and economic development in order to set the conditions for a transfer of sovereignty and operations to designated follow-on authorities,” the Web site states.

That’s a different task, King said, than V Corps’ previous Iraq assignment to fight and win a war and topple a government.

“There’s a profound change in the employment of the force,” he said.

King said he had no information on how duties would be split between the two deputy commanders when Batiste moves into the position. There has been no date set for his move to Heidelberg.

Also still undisclosed is what will happen next for Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who is due to leave Heidelberg after nearly two years as V Corps commander.

Some observers of the chessboardlike movement of top generals had thought Batiste a contender for Sanchez’s job. King said nothing could be ruled out.

“I don’t believe anything that happens precludes anything else from happening,” he said. “What may come is speculation.”

Copyright 2005, Stars and Stripes