In a ceremony held on Friday, March 22, 2013, General Lloyd Austin became the first African American to lead the U.S. Central Command. This means he is responsible for our troops and transitions in 20 countries in the Middle East and southwest Asia. In his 37-year tenure, General Austin has commanded the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions, as well as the 18th Airborne Corps. Austin is now the 12th Commander of the US Central Command.
General Lloyd Austin is a native of Thomasville, Georgia. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and obtained a Masters Degree from Auburn University. In his beginnings, Austin served in the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader in A Company 1st Battalion 7th Infantry and Scout Platoon Leader in the same battalion’s Combat Support Company.
Before becoming the first black general over U.S. Central Command, General Austin was the first African American to serve as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. The general holds a silver star for his service in Iraq through Operation New Dawn and carries recent tenure in Afghanistan.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has described General Austin as having [a] “…calm demeanor, strategic vision, regional experience and knowledge, and proven judgment.” It was through the expertise of General Lloyd Austin that 150,000 troops were brought home from the war in the Middle East. In 2012, Austin introduced President Obama before his address to soldiers at Fort Bliss.
Among his other military accomplishments, General Austin is a 2007 inductee into the Thomasville-Thomas County Sports Hall of Fame.