Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez relinquished command of V Corps Sept. 6 during ceremonies held at Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg.
General Sanchez, who has commanded V Corps since June 14, 2003, will depart Germany for the U.S. this week in preparation for his retirement later this year.
During the ceremony the general passed the V Corps colors to Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. Army, Europe, in the Army’s traditional gesture of passing of command.
In his remarks following the flag passing, General McKiernan said General Sanchez’s legacy is assured.
“Victory Corps has a long and distinguished lineage of past commanders,” General McKiernan said. “Today we add another name to that list.”
Speaking to General Sanchez as the 33-year veteran stood for the last time in front of representatives from 13 subordinate units he commanded during his tenure, General McKiernan recalled the general’s leadership of the 1st Armored Division, V Corps and Combined Joint Task Force-7 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The USAREUR commander told General Sanchez, a Bronze Star awardee, that his strategic, operational and tactical “savvy” saved countless American lives in combat.
As the first commanding general of Multi-National Force – Iraq, he developed a team “that has had a lasting impact on millions of Iraqi citizens,” General McKiernan said. “Your dedication, leadership and perseverance have paid off.”
Also noting General Sanchez’s years of duty in Europe, General McKiernan said his strong relations with “our allies set the stage for future transformation of this magnificent corps while we maintain partnerships with our neighbors.”
Addressing members of the V Corps, General Sanchez expressed his thanks for their service during his 39 months as their commander. “Generals succeed because of the sacrifices made by Soldiers,” he said. “This general is no different.”
General Sanchez’s final advice to his Soldiers was to take their guidance from the Army’s Warrior Ethos and to lead guided by the values instilled in all Soldiers.
“Do what is right,” he said. “Take the high ground.”
With General Sanchez relinquishing command, Maj. Gen. Doug Robinson, commander of 1st Armored Division, became acting V Corps commander. (Courtesy of USAREUR Public Affairs)