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Mattis Takes Reins at CENTCOM: Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis on Wednesday assumed command of US Central Command during a ceremony at its headquarters in Tampa, Fla. He now oversees US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Gen. Mattis is one of the most formidable warrior scholars of his generation," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who presided over the ceremony. Mattis fills the leadership vacancy created when Army Gen. David Petraeus left CENTCOM to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Mattis said he is "in awe" of the fortitude of the warfighters whom he now leads. "I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers as we team togetherco-equals in our commitment to protecting our experiment we call 'America' and to supporting stability in the region we’re assigned," he said. His previous job was as head of US Joint Forces Command. (CENTCOM release) (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)