|Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward (left) relinquishes command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to his friend, Gen. Carter F. Ham, today in a ceremony at the Stadthalle in Sindelfingen, Germany. U.S. Army photo.|
Ham assumes command of AFRICOM
9 March 2011 — By U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs Office
VICENZA, Italy — Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward passed the colors of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates relinquishing command to his friend, Gen. Carter F. Ham, today in a ceremony at the Stadthalle in Sindelfingen, Germany.
Ward’s passing of the colors marks the completion of nearly 3 1/2 years of a noble and shared venture with the Nation's newest Combatant Command.
Ham takes command of AFRICOM following 2 ½ years as Commanding General of United States Army Europe.
Africa is important to U.S. national security interests, Ham said during a confirmation hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee in November 2010.
"These interests," Ham said, "include concerns over violent extremist activities, piracy, illicit trafficking, Africa's many humanitarian crises, armed conflict, and more general challenges such as the effect of HIV/AIDS."
AFRICOM has a role in addressing each of these issues, Ham said, as the military component of a U.S. whole-of-government approach.
However, "the key remains that Africa's future is up to Africans," the general said.
AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, focuses on synchronizing hundreds of activities inherited from three regional commands that previously coordinated U.S. military relations in Africa.
Ham’s career includes serving as an enlisted Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned in the Infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976.
His military service has included assignments in Kentucky, Ohio, California, Georgia, Italy and Germany to name a few. He has also served in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Macedonia and Iraq.
He has held a variety of positions to include Recruiting Area Commander; Battalion Executive Officer at the National Training Center; Advisor to the Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade; Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry; Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division; Commander, 29th Infantry Regiment; commander, Multi-National Brigade, Mosul, Iraq; Commander, 1st Infantry Division; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
His military education includes the Armor Officers Advanced Course, Naval College of Command and Staff, graduating with distinction, and the U. S. Air Force’s Air War College.
Ham's awards and decorations include Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.