Incoming commanding officer of SMDC at Redstone identified as weekend death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - The man set to take over as commanding general for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command has passed away. The SMDC Change of Command ceremony was to take place Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. John Rossi, 55, was also set to be promoted to the rank of Lt. Gen. before taking the helm of SMDC.  An article on Army.mil addresses said promotion.

WHNT News 19 has learned Rossi's death is the death reported by Redstone Arsenal officials over the weekend. Information on his death was, and still is, very limited.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi's family.  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," said Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander.

Brig. Gen. John Rossi shakes hands with Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Thomson, Nov. 12, after arriving on Camp Taji, Iraq, for a visit to the troops there. On Rossi's left walks Col. Frank Muth, the commander of the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Photo: Spc. Roland Hale/11.12.2010

Brig. Gen. John Rossi shakes hands with Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Thomson, Nov. 12, after arriving on Camp Taji, Iraq, for a visit to the troops there. On Rossi's left walks Col. Frank Muth, the commander of the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
Photo: Spc. Roland Hale/11.12.2010

Rossi is from Long Island, New York.

Rossi previously served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Okla.  Prior to that assignment, he served as the director of the Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office in the Pentagon.Maj Gen John Rossi

Redstone officials have confirmed Lt. Gen. David Mann, who is the current commanding general of the SMDC, will remain in that position until further notice.

As is standard protocol, the criminal investigative division is investigating Rossi's death. Investigators don't suspect foul play in Rossi's death, but they haven't ruled anything out. His body will be sent for autopsy at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky.