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Fort Carson gets new foster boss

February 13, 2014 Updated: February 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm
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photo - Col. Michael Tarsa
Col. Michael Tarsa 

Fort Carson got a new foster boss Thursday when Col. Michael Tarsa took over as the post's acting senior commander.

The job, which he inherited from departing Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, entails overseeing day-to-day operations on the post until Fort Carson and 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera returns from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in July.

"It's a distinct honor to lead this heralded division in your absence," Tarsa told LaCamera over a video conference link during the ceremony that put him in charge.

Bills, who has led the post since LaCamera deployed last summer, is headed to Fort Hood, Texas, where he'll take command of the 1st Cavalry Division, and this summer, Bills will head to Kandahar, Afghanistan to take LaCamera's place as commander of American forces in southern Afghanistan.

While his role may be temporary, Tarsa will lead the post through a time of sweeping change.

The division is reorganizing and re-equipping in response to Army downsizing plans that will leave it with one less combat brigade.

When the reorganization is complete, the post will have infantry and armor brigades and a brigade armed with 8-wheeled Stryker vehicles.

The post is also continuing to build a helicopter brigade at its airfield.

In the coming weeks, the post's 4th Brigade Combat Team is heading to war and Tarsa will oversee their deployment to Afghanistan.

Bills said Tarsa will get a lot of help in his job from leaders on post and around the Front Range.

"I have not seen community support of this caliber anywhere in the Army," Bills said.

Tarsa comes to Fort Carson from a stint at the Pentagon where he served as a top aide to Army chief Gen. Raymond Odierno.

The new job means Tarsa has more responsibility than the bulk of Army colonels, who generally command units with fewer than 5,000 soldiers. But even without stars on his collar, he says he's up to the task.

"I'll try the best that I can each and every day," he said.

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