04/30/05 — Gen. Eikenberry: Our community’s proud contribution

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Gen. Eikenberry: Our community’s proud contribution

It was with great pride — and mixed emotions — that our community read of the promotion and new assignment of our own Karl W. Eikenberry.

He is now a three-star general. And he has been assigned as commander of the 20-nation Combined Forces Operations in Afghanistan.

We are proud that he has been promoted and concerned, of course, that he again must serve in a dangerous part of the world.

But danger is nothing new to General Eikenberry. Among his many decorations are the combat and expert infantryman badges, the master parachutist badge and the Bronze Star. He wears the Ranger patch.

He has served with distinction in hot spots and in diplomatically significant and politically sensitive positions throughout the world, including China.

His brilliance and leadership have been recognized at Goldsboro High School, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and in the important roles he has served throughout his career in the Army.

He holds master’s degrees from Harvard and Stanford universities and was certified by the British Foreign Commonwealth Office as an interpreter in Mandarin Chinese.

Despite all his accomplishments, Karl Eikenberry comes across as a modest, down home regular guy. Off duty, he apparently chooses to be seen in casual, perhaps sometimes even under-stated, attire. He greets folks with a warm handshake, genuine and disarming friendliness and absolutely no air of self-importance.

But we know that he is a home-town boy of unsurpassed accomplishments.

Many of us have followed his career with interest and admiration. Our country — and the world — can take comfort and assurance in having one of his stature, brilliance and leadership at the helm as the multinational forces face the continuing challenges in that part of the world where Osama bin Laden may still be eluding capture.

Published in Editorials on April 30, 2005 11:01 PM