Col. William E. Rapp is leaving command of Fort Lewis’ 555th Combat Support Brigade to head over to Baghdad for a job on the staff of new Iraq boss Gen. David Petraeus. The Washington Post’s Tom Ricks reported today that Petraeus is surrounding himself with smart guys – senior staff officers known for deep, if not unconventional, thinking. Rapp holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford.
Not sure what his specific role will be with Petraeus. He recently wrote an Army magazine article stressing the importance of ethical leader development in an Army at war.
Rapp led the Triple Nickel through a yearlong deployment in northern Iraq in 2005-06. The Stryker brigades get all the attention, but the 555th engineers are probably the busiest big Army troops at Fort Lewis. The headquarters has been to Iraq twice. Its 864th Engineer Battalion leaves soon for a second yearlong deployment to Afghanistan and also spent a year in Iraq. Its 14th Engineer Battalion has spent two tours in Iraq and is on tap soon for a third. And its newest element, the 23rd Chemical Battalion, recently deployed for a year to Afghanistan.
Col. Randy Fofi will take command in a ceremony Tuesday; his last job was deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwest division in Portland. He’s a West Pointer, class of 1982.