Newsmaker: Gen. John Abizaid
Gen. John Abizaid took over the leadership of the U.S. Central Command from retiring Gen. Tommy Franks. Abizaid was serving as one of Frank's deputies during the planning stages of the war on terrorism and the coordination of the Iraq invasion. H...
Gen. John Abizaid took over the leadership of the U.S. Central Command from retiring Gen. Tommy Franks. Abizaid was serving as one of Frank's deputies during the planning stages of the war on terrorism and the coordination of the Iraq invasion. He was promoted to four-star general upon Frank's retirement. Abizaid is fluent in Arabic. He also speaks German and Italian.
Early years: Abizaid, of Lebanese descent, was born April 1, 1951, in Coleville, Calif. He earned his M.A. from Harvard University, and was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman. He graduated from West Point in 1973. During his career, Abizaid also attended the Armed Forces Staff College and earned a U.S. Army War College Senior Fellowship at the Hoover Institution.
Career: After graduating from West Point, Abizaid served as an infantry commander. He led a U.S. Army Ranger rifle company during the 1983 invasion of Grenada. His use of a commandeered bulldozer to advance on a Cuban position inspired a scene in the movie "Heartbreak Ridge."
After the 1991 Gulf War, Abizaid commanded a battalion that helped resettle thousands of Kurdish Iraqis. In Kosovo, he oversaw peacekeeping operations. In 1993, he was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Family: Abizaid and his wife, Kathy, have three grown children.
In his words: "CentCom will continue to take the fight to the enemy on his ground. We will continue to do our work with our friends and allies to defeat our mortal enemies. We will defeat these terrorists who kill the innocent, we will defeat these murderers who respect no faith."
Web link: www.sptimes.com/2003/06/19/Worldandnation/Arabic_speaking_gener.shtml
Compiled by Carol Bradley Bursack
Sources: Associated Press, Aaiusa.org, Edition.cnn.com