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Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 6:00am

Coastal Bases Get New Leaders

Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah has a new top officer taking charge.

A change of command ceremony was scheduled Wednesday to install Lt. Col. Clarence Bowman as the Army post's new garrison commander. He will succeed Lt. Col. Edward Kovaleski, who held the job for two years.

Hunter Army Airfield covers more than 5,300 acres in Savannah and is home to aviation units of the 3rd Infantry Division based at nearby Fort Stewart as well as other tenant units including elite Army Rangers and special operations helicopter crews.

Hunter's garrison commander reports to the command at Fort Stewart.

The Savannah airfield is set up to efficiently deploy troops overseas. Its 11,340-foot runway is the longest of any Army post east of the Mississippi River.

Meanwhile, the Army has appointed a two-star general based in Washington as the next commanding general at Fort Stewart.

The Pentagon says Maj. Gen. John M. Murray will succeed Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams as top officer at the southeast Georgia post, where Murray will command the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

Murray currently serves as director of force management for the Army's deputy chief of staff for operations and plans. His previous assignments include stints at the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Virginia and as deputy commanding general for maneuvers for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Abrams took command at Fort Stewart in April 2011. He is currently deployed as the top U.S. and NATO commander in southern Afghanistan.

A date for the transition hasn't been announced.