With time winding down on his tour of duty as the commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II met with Central Texas media members Tuesday, looking back on the corps’ successes against ISIS overseas and his homecoming assignment here at the Great Place.
“If you know me, my name is Funk and I am a Phantom Warrior,” the general, who was born on Fort Hood, began his opening remarks, “and more importantly, thanks for giving me the opportunity just to reach out to the Central Texas community and thank them from Beth and I, just to say ‘Hey, thanks for bringing us back home and making sure that we felt welcome and very much like we were amongst Family.’”
Funk’s ties to Fort Hood go far beyond his birth here, as he followed in his father’s footsteps, retired Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk, to command the Phantom Corps and Fort Hood.
Though they served in different eras, the general said having his father nearby as a mentor aided immensely during his time in command.
“When he was the corps commander … that was the Army coming back from Desert Storm,” he said. “The corps piece of this thing, I guess learned that from my dad. The most important thing you do for a corps headquarters, division headquarters, is manage transition and lead through change. No matter what the conditions are on the battlefield, it’s always going to change.
“He taught me that,” Funk said, adding, “It’s really cool when your hero is your dad and you can talk to him every day.”
Looking back, the general said the defeating ISIS in Iraq was the highlight of his time at the helm of America’s Hammer.
“Leading the corps out on the field to the deployment,” Funk said, “and then coming home victorious through an accelerated campaign plan (and) watching the collapse of just a terrible, evil people … was very powerful for me.”
Looking ahead, the general said he’s looking forward to his new mission – commanding the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command and helping to mold tomorrow’s troops today.
“What my job at TRADOC will be is to turn citizens into Soldiers,” he said, “and provide the basics, so they can come to the operational force and become master craftsmen at what it is we do.”
Next month, Funk will relinquish command of the Phantom Corps and say farewell once again to his Central Texas roots. How will it feel to say, “I’m Funk and I’m a Phantom Warrior” one last time?
“It’s going to be hard,” the general said, “but it’s going to be with an incredible amount of humility and pride. This is my hometown. These are my people. This is my reputation. This is where I live and my Family grew up. This is incredibly important to me, this Central Texas area.”
Funk said he’s still working on the next catch phrase for TRADOC.
“You know, I don’t know about that, but you know what I love about that, what I love about TRADOC’s motto? It’s ‘Victory Starts Here,’” Funk said. “So, it starts from the individual. It starts with being ready, being fit, being committed.”