Hickman to take command of JRTC, Fort Polk on Thursday - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hickman takes command of JRTC, Fort Polk

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Chinn, at left, with Hickman Chinn, at left, with Hickman
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FORT POLK, LA (KPLC) -

For the last 22 months, Brig. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn has served as commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk but after Thursday, there's a new man taking charge.

With one last salute and the traditional passing of the colors, Chinn gave up his top post to Brig. Gen. William Hickman on Thursday, ending his two-year chapter as head of the sprawling Vernon Parish installation.

Thursday also started a new chapter for Hickman's storied Army career.

Since being commissioned into the Army in 1983, Hickman has served the country all over the world, earning more than a dozen medals and special recognitions.

Hickman was most recently the Deputy Commanding General (Support), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

While he may be new to the position, Hickman is no stranger to Fort Polk.

"I have had the opportunity to train at Fort Polk many times and actually spent a couple of rotations here these last 12 months. It's been a great reception when I came down as a training unit and I'm really looking forward to joining the team here," he said.

Taking over the team once led by Chinn, Hickman plans to build on the foundations of leadership, laid by his predecessor.

"We're going to maintain that excellence that we have right now and continue to adapt as the situations and environments adapt overseas. We'll have 10 more rotations than they did last year of training units coming to Fort Polk and preparing them primarily to go to Afghanistan, but there will be a focus on other parts of the world also," Hickman said.

As Hickman embarks on his new journey, Chinn said he's the perfect man for the job.

"I'm very proud and honored to be able to hand this command over to Brig. Gen. Bill Hickman and his wife, Mayme. They're tremendous Army leaders and a tremendous command team and they'll do great here," Chinn said.

Chinn will head to Afghanistan but said under Hickman's leadership, Fort Polk will continue to be the "Home of the Heroes."

KPLC's Gerron Jordan covered the change of command ceremony and will have more on later editions.

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