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Army Gen. David Rodriguez last week succeeded Army Gen. Carter Ham as commander of US Africa Command during a ceremony at the command's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Ham, who had led the command since March 2011, plans to retire after 39 years in uniform—including two as an enlisted infantryman. "Your inspired leadership has helped African nations realize the value of AFRICOM in fostering stability and hope on the continent," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of Ham in a message read during the April 5 change-of-command ceremony. "You devoted the whole of yourself to the United States Army and to the United States of America, and for that, we are grateful." Presiding over the ceremony, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Chairman, noted that Ham assembled an international coalition to aid the people of Libya just days after assuming command. "From Tanzania to Senegal, Tunisia to Botswana, you've found new ways to deepen partnerships and to build capability," said Dempsey. Rodriguez, who previously served as commanding general of the US Army Forces Command, is the third commander of AFRICOM since it stood up in October 2007. (AFPS report by Claudette Roulo) (See also Senate Confirms New CENTCOM, AFRICOM Bosses.)