Bio: Gen. John Abizaid

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Here is a professional biography of incoming U.S. Central Command Chief Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid (search), according to Centcom's Web site:

Abizaid assumed duties as the Deputy Commander (Forward) for Combined Forces Command, U.S. Central Command in January 2003.

Abizaid was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in June 1973. He started his career with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (search) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a rifle and scout platoon leader. He commanded companies in the 2nd and 1st Ranger Battalions, leading a Ranger Rifle Company during the invasion of Grenada.

Abizaid commanded the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Battalion combat Team in Vicenza, Italy, during the Gulf crisis and deployed with the battalion to Kurdistan (search) in Northern Iraq. His brigade command was the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. He served as the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Armored Division, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Following that tour, he served as the 66th Commandant at West Point. Most recently, he commanded the 1st Infantry Division, the "Big Red One," in Wurzburg. That division formed the core of Task Force Falcon in Kosovo.

Staff assignments include a tour with the United Nations (search) as operations officer for Observer Group Lebanon and a tour in the Office of the Chief of the Staff, U.S. Army. European staff tours include assignments in both the Southern European Task Force and Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe. Abizaid also served as Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Strategic Plans and Policy (J5) on the Joint Staff and Director of the Joint Staff.

Abizaid’s military education includes Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Armed Forces Staff College, and a U.S. Army War College Senior Fellowship at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In his civilian studies, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Area Studies at Harvard University, and was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with five Oak Leaf Clusters and the Bronze Star. He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge with Gold Star, Ranger Tab and the Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

Abizaid is a native of Coleville, Calif. He is married and has three children.