Hickman takes command at Fort Polk JRTC

FORT POLK — Brig. Gen. William B. Hickman became the new commander of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center on Thursday.

Hickman previously served as a deputy support commander with the 101st Airborne Division. He replaces Brig. Gen. K.K. Chinn, who has been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

Hickman said the successes of soldiers “are directly related to the training and preparation they have received here,” he said.

He said Fort Polk and the surrounding area will continue to flourish, and he noted the special relationship the post has with Vernon, Beauregard, Rapides, Sabine and Calcasieu parishes.

“Education, economic development and quality-of-life initiatives will also continue to be a top priority here. Those are important for all of us, civilian and soldier alike,” Hickman said.

“The Army has invested more than $1 billion in Fort Polk since 2005, with more than $300 million spent in the last few years on infrastructure and quality-of-life initiatives, and you’re going to see that continue over the next few years.”

At the change-of-command ceremony, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, head of U.S. Forces Command, praised Chinn and recounted what he had achieved during his 22-month tour as post commander.

Chinn thanked community leaders for their support, and he said that no installation in the Army does more for the Army than Fort Polk.