Brig. Gen. James Yarbrough assumed command of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk on Tuesday morning. The ceremony is a time-honored tradition that began when George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army.

Brig. Gen. James Yarbrough assumed command of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk on Tuesday morning.


Community leaders, soldiers and residents of the area joined to welcome Yarbrough, his wife, Cathy, and daughter, Julia.


The ceremony is a time-honored tradition that began when George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army. Yarbrough will now lead JRTC and Fort Polk as thousands of soldiers rotate through JRTC before deploying in support of the Global War on Terror. Yarbrough expressed his delight in having the opportunity to come to Fort Polk and that he was ready to get busy.


“I’ve got to share with you that Fort Polk was our (family’s) number one pick of assignments coming out of Iraq, and we dove at the chance to come here,” Yarbrough said.


Yarbrough earned his commission from Tulane University in New Orleans. His first assignment was with the 101st Airborne Division where he served as Rifle Platoon Leader and Anti-Tank Platoon Leader in the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry.


Throughout his career, Yarbrough served as deputy commanding general of the United States Army Infantry Center in Fort Benning, Ga., followed by an assignment as the assistant division commander, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley before deploying to Iraq.


He returned home from Iraq just one month ago where he commanded the Iraq Assistance Group responsible for developing Iraq’s Security Forces and employment of U.S. Embedded Advisory Teams.


“Our credentials here at Fort Polk are measured in lives saved and missions accomplished,” said Yarbrough.


“Where else can you go and directly impact 50,000 soldiers a year whose next step after training at JRTC is to board a jet to Baghdad or Kabul to fight for his life and his country,” Yarbrough said. “This fight is complex, it’s about as tough as it comes, and the Army Places enduring trust in what we do here.


“It’s sobering when you pause and consider what’s at stake. This fight is critical to America’s future,” he said.


Gen. Charles Campbell served as the Host Commander for the day’s ceremony. Campbell is the Commander, United States Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Ga.


“Louisiana is where people value soldiers and the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis,” said Campbell.


“The man (Yarbrough) who will lead these soldiers is a visionary. ... A superb leader and courageous warrior. ... He is a soldier’s general,” said Campbell.


Leesville Daily Leader