Army Maj. Gen. found dead in home two days before assuming new command

Major General John Rossi (Army)

The former commander of the the Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Oklahoma was found dead in his on-post home at Redstone Arsenal on Sunday.

Maj. Gen. John Rossi, 55, had just arrived Redstone Arsena to take over as the commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command since relinquishing command of Fort Sill on July 21st, according to KSWO.

Rossi and his family only moved into their house on-post less than two weeks ago, according to John Cummings, a spokesman for Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

Today, he was scheduled to be promoted to lieutenant general and take over command from Lt. Gen. David Mann.  Mann, who was scheduled to retire, will remain in command of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, said Cummings.

“He really was a very out front, very polished, professional leader. He was the first non-field artilleryman to command Fort Sill, that had challenges which he met very adroitly, very professionally. He just really stepped up to be a true leader in the community which is what was expected and what he did,” said Retired Major General Lee Baxter (former Fort Sill commander).

According to Baxter, Major General Rossi served all around the United States, Korea, Germany, Southwest Asia and Iraq with the Air Defense Artillery.  He said he Rossi became great friends over the years at Fort Sill and rarely went more than a week or 10 days without talking.

“Our thoughts and prayers at with Maj. Gen. John Rossi’s family,” said Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, deputy commanding general of Army Material Command and senior commander of Redstone Arsenal, in a statement. “We share their grief during this time of loss. Our priority right now is to take care of the family, ensuring they have all the resources they need during this critical time.”

Maj. Gen. Rossi, a native of Long Island, New York, graduated from West Point in 1983, receiving his commission as an air defense artillery officer.

The cause of Rossi’s death has yet to be determined and the investigation is underway.  “At this point we don’t have any indication of foul play,” said Chris Grey, a spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command, to the Army Times.

Rossi’s awards include three Distinguished Service Medals, five Legion of Merits and two Bronze Stars, according to the El Paso Times.

He is survived by his wife, Liz, and their three children and one grandchild.

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