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99th commander in Moon heading for Baghdad

| Thursday, March 1, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

The commander of the Army Reserve 99th Regional Readiness Command in Moon was appointed Wednesday as deputy director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office in Baghdad.

Maj. Gen. James Lester Snyder, 56, is expected to begin his new duties in the next few months, said Maj. Greg Yesko, spokesman for the 99th Command.

Snyder, who lives in Springfield, Va., and is a defense consultant and principal analyst for a Virginia computer systems consulting service, was promoted to major general on March 16, 2006, and assumed command of the 99th three days later.

It was not known last night how long Snyder will serve in Iraq or who will take over as commander of the 99th, Yesko said.

Army officers assigned to the State Department's Iraq Reconstruction Management Office generally are responsible for the awarding of contracts to civilian contractors, making sure the work is done according to specifications and monitoring expenses.

Before Snyder was named commander of the 99th, he was the brigadier general in command of the 411th Engineer Brigade in New Windsor, N.Y. He served in 1990-91 as a joint and coalition forces ground operations officer at the Army Forces Central Command in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

He has a bachelor's degree in building design and construction and master's degrees in operations management and national resource strategy.

Yesko said it appears the Army Reserve Command will consider three options for the 99th when Snyder begins his new duties: appoint a general from outside the command as the new commander; appoint the unit's deputy commander, Brig. Gen. William D.R. Waff, as acting commander, or appoint Waff as the new commander.

The 99th, which includes more than 25,000 soldiers from Pennsylvania, four other states and the District of Columbia, has deployed more than 18,000 Army reservists since Sept. 11, 2001, mostly to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Snyder has been overseeing the 99th's move to Fort Dix, N.J., one of hundreds of Pentagon recommendations approved in 2005 by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The move is expected to be completed by September 2009.

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