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U.S. Army South Bids Farewell To Commander

U.S. Army South said goodbye to its commanding general, Clarence K.K. Chinn, at a ceremony at Fort Sam Houston on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn offered words of thanks and encouragement to a crowd gathered at MacArthur Field. He retired after 36 years in the Army to spend time with his family.

"Serving at Army South has been humbling and unbelievably rewarding," Chinn said. "It's been a privilege and honor for Val and I to be associated with the outstanding leaders at Fort Sam Houston and U.S. Southern Command." 

Chinn established himself as a collaborative leader with U.S. Army South, which is responsible for strengthening regional security in Central and South America and the Caribbean. 

Adm. Kurt Walter Tidd spoke highly of Chinn's efforts to work with 31 partner nation armies.

"It seemed like he was everywhere all the time," Tidd said. "I'd be downrange talking to my counterparts and I'd look over and I'd see K.K. deeply engaged with a group of our partner nation soldiers. He earned and he kept the trust of armies all over Latin America and the Caribbean."

General Chinn also acted as a steady hand during force restructuring measures. Army senior leaders relied on his opinion, according to Adm. Tidd.

"K.K. provided invaluable insight and guidance that balanced the impact on U.S.Army South with what was best for the Army as an institution," he said.

Stepping in for K.K. Chinn is Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer, who comes to San Antonio from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Stammer previously commanded the U.S. military's efforts around the volatile Horn of Africa. He worked to secure that region alongside 16 other nations.

Stammer believes that experience will help him in his new role with U.S. Army South.

"A lot of those missions will carry over, " he said. "Just with a few more countries and a much larger geographic area."

Going forward, U.S. Army South will continue its work in combating regional terrorist networks.

Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.