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First U.S. Central Command chief, Robert Kingston, dies

By Washington Post
Published March 2, 2007


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WASHINGTON - Robert Kingston, an Army general and highly decorated combat veteran who served in the early 1980s as the first chief of U.S. Central Command, which deploys ground, sea and air units to the Middle East, died Wednesday (Feb. 28, 2007) at the Ruxton Health Care nursing home in suburban Alexandria, Va. He had complications from a fall at his home in suburban Fairfax County, Va. He was 78.

Gen. Kingston, who spent more than 36 years in the Army, served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and held command positions in the Rangers and Special Forces. In 1981, he became commanding general of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, predecessor of Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Gen. Kingston received his fourth star when he took over the newly named Central Command in January 1983. Central Command became an equal of the five other unified joint military commands and had 300,000 active-duty personnel under its watch when the general retired in 1985.

His wife of 36 years, Josephine Cody "Jo" Kingston, died in 1992. Survivors include two children, George Kingston of Atlanta and Leslie Reiman of Fairfax County, and a brother.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:23:11]


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