Jacoby Salutes Northcom’s Decade of Protecting Homeland
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2012 The commander of U.S. Northern Command commemorated its 10th anniversary today, lauding the joint, interagency and international partners who have enabled the command to live up to its mission of protecting the U.S. homeland.
“This command, after 10 years, has proven its worth. It has met the challenges and validated the vision, courage and perseverance of all who worked for her success,” Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. said during ceremonies at the Northcom headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. “Ten years on, we say, ‘Duty well done.’”
Jacoby offered a special tribute to retired Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, the first Northcom commander, and retired Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric A. Findley, who served as Eberhart’s deputy commander at North American Aerospace Defense Command, for shaping the two commands to confront the 21st century threats.
At Jacoby’s recommendation, the building that houses both commands’ headquarters staffs was renamed today the Eberhart-Findley Building. This is the first time a U.S. military combatant command headquarters has been named for a Canadian military officer.
Jacoby praised the two generals’ leadership in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, a time he called as momentous in U.S. history as the shelling of Fort Sumter, S.C., that launched the Civil War, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that pulled the United States into World War II, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Sept. 11 revealed the United States’ vulnerability to a nonstate actor, Jacoby said.
“Our geographically defined sanctuary was breached, our innocence compromised. Our homeland was exposed, vulnerable and bleeding,” he said. “But as we have always done, this great nation took stock, committed to a course of action and responded immediately.”
Northcom, a new unified combatant command, rose from the ashes of the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and a field in Shanksville, Pa., and in the shadow of iconic Cheyenne Mountain, he noted. Meanwhile, NORAD embarked on a rapid transformation to meet the new challenges now confronting the United States and Canada.
Jacoby saluted the “men and women with the vision and the energy to drive and lead innovative change in both NORAD and the new Northcom.” These, he said, are “people who have understood their moments in time, the importance of their missions and the requirement to act now.”
Jacoby called their efforts a demonstration of the shared and longstanding commitment of the United States and Canada “to do whatever it took to stand up to the threats of the Soviet Union … [and] to deter the awful threat of nuclear war, even if it meant being ready to fight one.”
They laid the foundation, he said, for today’s partnership of “international warriors, partners and friends” from Canada, Mexico and the United States and the “tens and thousands of first responders and state and local public servants who make the security of our homeland and caring for their citizens in their times of greatest need as job No. 1.”
These, he said, are “the men and women who have made Northcom rise to every challenge,” and will lead it to those ahead.