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New Fort Carson deputy commander has 'intellectual firepower'

August 12, 2017 Updated: August 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm
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Col. William Thigpen speaks at a ceremony welcoming him to Fort Carson this month. The new deputy post commander, Thigpen is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan known for his keen intellect (Army Photo)

Some Army bosses are known for their bulging arms or bellowing voices.

New Fort Carson deputy commander Col. William Thigpen is known for his big brain. The colonel took over the post's No. 2 job last week after coming to town from a Washington, D.C., think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He's also got degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the National War College and Virginia State University.

"He brings tremendous amounts of intellectual firepower," said Thigpen's new boss, Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves.

The job of deputy post commander is like another degree to hang on Thigpen's crowded office wall. It's given to colonels who have been picked for a brigadier general's stars and gives them a chance for on-the-job training under the tutelage of a two-star general.

With the pounding pace of work at Fort Carson, Thigpen will have to learn rapidly.

Now, the division has a brigade of tanks in Europe going through the most extensive set of overseas training exercises since the Cold War. It also has a brigade of eight-wheeled Stryker vehicles fresh back from a stint at the National Training Center in California and a brigade of infantry that's in the midst of a training cycle that could prepare it for combat overseas.

"This is the busiest division in our Army, and it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future," Gonsalves said.

Thigpen has also been a student of history.

He said he's happy to have arrived at Fort Carson as the 4th Infantry Division marks a century of service to the nation.

"This history of this storied division is truly remarkable, and to be here at this time of celebration is tremendous," he said.

The celebrations start this week with festivities including athletic competitions and family gatherings for Iron Horse Week, which highlights the division's accomplishments since 1917.

In Colorado Springs, Thigpen said, he hopes to learn the best methods of balancing deployment demands while keeping troops ready for war.

"Our goal is to achieve readiness," he said. "Sustainable readiness."

The Virgina native joined the Army in 1992 and has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also served as an aide to top Army brass at the Pentagon.

He also led the 316th Cavalry Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga. That's the Army's top tank-training unit.

A quarter century in the Army has taken Thigpen all over the planet. While he has always hoped for a posting here, this is Thigpen's first stop at Fort Carson.

The perpetual student said he's learning a lot about the Pikes Peak region.

"Without question, it is one of the best military communities in our Army," he said.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

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