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SUNDAY, AUGUST 31, 2014  05:14:08 AM

Former III Corps DCG tapped to lead Canadian Army

Email   Print   Share By Heather Graham, Sentinel News Editor
April 29, 2010 | News
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Canadian Maj. Gen. Peter Devlin has been tapped to lead Canada’s Army. Courtesy photo
Former III Corps deputy commander Maj. Gen. Peter Devlin from Canada has been nominated for the position of Chief of Land Staff at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. The position is the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. Army Chief of Staff slot.

Devlin was at Fort Hood 2005-2008. His time here included a 15-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 where he saw a dramatic change in the war-torn nation.

“It was a professional response by the U.S. military,” Devlin said.

He added the deployment was among his most cherished memories from his time at Fort Hood.

Although he and his wife Judy have been away from the Great Place for two years now, Devlin said they have fond memories of Central Texas and Fort Hood and keep in contact with friends they met.

“Fort Hood has a huge part of my heart,” Devlin said.

His tour with III Corps left a professional and positive effect on Devlin.

“It gave me rich experiences and a professional understanding of another army,” he said.

He said the continued relationship between Canada and the U.S. continues to strengthen as the two nations work jointly, both in North America and abroad, in military operations and on a personal level.

“At the heart of it is the people,” Devlin said. “This allows personal relationships to be born and grow.”

Devlin was the fourth Canadian general to serve at III Corps. He was replaced by current deputy commander Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson in 2008.

The first, Gen. Rick Hillier, who later served as Canada’s Chief of Defence and is now retired, came to Fort Hood in 1998. After two years, Maj. Gen. Matt McDonald replaced Hillier. McDonald now serves as Canada’s Chief of Defence Intelligence.

Gen. Walter Natynczyck, Canada’s current Chief of Defence, was the third Canadian general to serve at III Corps. He deployed with III Corps in 2004.

When general officers from Canada serve at III Corps they are afforded the chance to lead at levels beyond the size of their home army since Canada’s army is roughly division-sized.

“The opportunity to work at this level allows us to work in headquarters at a level we don’t have,” Atkinson said.

With only 65 general officers in Canadian Forces, which includes the Air Force, Army, Navy and Special Forces, chances are high III Corps deputy commanders know each other.

Atkinson has known Devlin since 1987 and their families are essentially neighbors at home in Canada. He also knows Natynczyck, Hillier and McDonald, and has been able to draw from their experiences at Fort Hood.

Having a Canadian general officer serve with American forces at Fort Hood is an extension of the two armies’ collaborative efforts worldwide in operations.

“Our two militaries are more closely aligned,” Atkinson said. “We partner with most U.S. joint and combined operations.”

The two nations have similar noncommissioned and commissioned officer schools, Atkinson said, and troops attend each other’s war colleges.

“Our approaches to the Officer and NCO Corps are the same,” he added.

Hosting Canadian general officers helps build on an already tight bond.

“It’s all about relationships,” Atkinson said. “The Canada-U.S. relationship within the armies is very important.”

When the general officers return to Canada following the three-year tour here, the Canadian Forces can use and build on the experiences gained at the corps level.

“We always hope to send someone who is able to come back to Canada and its forces with a heightened level of experience,” Devlin said.

Because the deputy commanding Canadian general is vital to the U.S. and Canada, the general officer sent to Fort Hood is hand selected.

“They look for a well-rounded army officer with experiences to share with the U.S.,” Devlin said. “It is preferred that they have a family because they also are there to share our culture, values and views on the military.”

Many former Fort Hood deputy commanders from Canada have gone on to prestigious positions within Canadian Forces. Devlin is scheduled to be the next to lead the army in June.

Fort Hood has always seen good fits with Canada. General officers who come here from Canada are visible at community events.

They have become beloved members of the Fort Hood community during their times here and are not quickly forgotten. That sentiment seems to be reciprocated.

“You made us feel a part of the family,” Devlin said. “You live in a very special community. We wish we were still there. Be fiercely proud of that strong sense of community.”
 
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