FORT IRWIN • At a time when Fort Irwin is preparing to train soldiers for conflicts outside Iraq and Afghanistan, the National Training Center will receive a new commanding general.
After about two years as the training center's commanding general, Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams will turn over his command to Brig. Gen. Terry R. Ferrell Feb. 7. It's uncertain at this point what Abrams will do when he relinquishes his post, said John Wagstaffe, Fort Irwin public affairs officer. A change-of-command ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

Abrams replaced Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard as the training center's garrison commander in March 2009. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates nominated Abrams for a second star, which would make Abrams a Maj. General, in November 2010, Wagstaffe said. Abrams' new rank still has to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

During Abrams' command of the garrison at Fort Irwin, the National Training Center began training soldiers to fight in Afghanistan more often than Iraq, Wagstaffe said. He pointed out that soldiers will soon be pulling out of Iraq.

"Iraq is almost over for us," he said. "We've got to be prepared for wherever the next battle will be."

By August 2011, the National Training Center will be training soldiers for hybrid rotations, Wagstaffe said. Hybrid rotations involve soldiers fighting both insurgents and opposing soldiers. Training currently has soldiers focusing on insurgents. Fort Irwin already conducted a practice hybrid rotation in December.

The National Training Center will also continue conducting training scenarios for soldiers being sent to Afghanistan, Wagstaffe said.

Ferrell came to the National Training Center in November from Korea, where he was an assistant division commander for the 2nd Infantry Division. While at Fort Irwin, Ferrell has served as special assistant to the commanding general, job-shadowing Abrams.

Abrams was unavailable for comment Friday.

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