NEWS | July 7, 2021

U.S. Army South welcomes new commanding general

By Staff Sgt. Ashley Dotson U.S. Army South Public Affairs

U.S. Army South conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston on June 30. Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, presided over the ceremony in which Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath relinquished command to Brig. Gen. William L. Thigpen.

In keeping with military tradition, Walrath relinquished command by passing the colors to Faller, which symbolized the transfer of responsibility and authority, who then passed them to Thigpen, recognizing him as the U.S. Army South commander.

Walrath, who will retire after 33 years in uniform, credited the Army South team for the many accomplishments during his time as commander.

“I am immensely proud of what U.S. Army South has achieved these last two years,” said Walrath. “When I arrived here two years ago, I had no experience in the region, so I trusted the experience and expertise in Army South to help me understand what was most important in our mission.”

Faller recognized Walrath for his contributions to strengthening partnerships in the Western Hemisphere, as well as his many accomplishments throughout his career.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Faller as he described Walrath’s career. “You pull out the history of our nation’s conflicts and, at the point of attack, each and every time has been Dan Walrath. His command and leadership roles, serving this country selflessly and sacrificing everything for the nation and for the world.”

Faller explained that U.S. Army South will be in good hands with Thigpen in command.

“I know your character and caliber, and I know you’re ready to step forward and meet the challenges we face,” Faller said to Thigpen.

Following his introduction, Thigpen expressed his excitement to join U.S. Army South and strengthening regional partnerships.

“It truly is great to be back in the state of Texas, and it’s even better to be back in the state of Texas as a part of U.S. Southern Command and Army South,” Thigpen said. “To our partner nations -- I look forward to serving with all of you as we continue to build capacity, learn and train together, successfully defending our respective national interests.”

Thigpen most recently served as the Deputy Director for Operations, National Joint Operations Intelligence Center, Operations Team Four, J-3, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Originally from Virginia, he earned degrees from Virginia State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and National Defense University. His career spans nearly three decades and includes command and staff assignments in the United States, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Poland.

U.S. Army South is the Army Service Component Command of U.S. Southern Command with an area of responsibility that encompasses 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America, and the Caribbean and covers about 15.6 million square miles.