Fort Sill says goodbye to FA commandant
April 11, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (April 11, 2013) -- Fort Sill honored Brig. Gen. Brian McKiernan, outgoing Field Artillery School commandant and chief of FA, with a retreat ceremony April 2 at Rinehart Fitness Center.
Hundreds of fellow Soldiers, civilians, family, friends and leaders from the community said farewell to McKiernan, who will become the 82nd Airborne Division deputy commanding general at Fort Bragg, N.C.
McKiernan, who became the 49th commandant in January 2012, described his position here as "a dream come true."
"I am so proud to be part of this team -- the FCoE (Fires Center of Excellence) Team, the Sill team," said McKiernan. "This is a great, great place to serve our Army."
Ceremony host Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, FCoE and Fort Sill commanding general, who worked with McKiernan in Iraq under stressful circumstances, described him as "unflappable" there and at Fort Sill.
He recounted how McKiernan, in his 18 months here, understood the Army's need to modernize gunnery, advance fire control systems and improve training.
McKiernan placed an emphasis on digital command and control systems in use with observed fires targeting tools, he said. And, the testing of a Projectile Guidance Kit (PGK), which is a fuse for FA rounds, makes for a very accurate round. These are techniques that McKiernan has been innovative with, McDonald said.
"He has changed the fundamentals of field artillery to where we have irreversible momentum," McDonald said.
McKiernan was also instrumental in advancing FA leader development by improving the Captains' Career Course, and drove to get women Soldiers into FA units.
"Today, the number one graduate in the BOLC (FA Basic Officer Leader Course) was a female, we have a pilot course at the 18th (FA) Brigade where we are going to put female officers in cannon units," McDonald said. "We're not standing by, we're moving out."
During the ceremony, McKiernan was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for his unequalled performance of duty, vision, mentorship and leadership which revolutionized the field artillery branch, according to the award citation.
His wife, Dr. (Col.) Sharon McKiernan, Reynolds Army Community Hospital Department of Soldier Medicine chief, received the Alice Grierson Award for Excellence for her selfless service to the Fort Sill community. In May, she will become a deputy commander at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg.
Col. McKiernan said she going to remember the people and the Oklahoma skies. "The sky just gets me every day," she said.
This was Brig. Gen. McKiernan's first permanent assignment at Fort Sill. He reflected back on his time here.
"In my 26 years in the Army, I have not been part of a community where there is such a tight relationship between the military community and the local community," he said. "It's a seamless relationship between the citizens of Lawton and the citizens of Fort Sill. It really does make it a special place to live and work."
Brig. Gen. McKiernan vowed that he would return to Fort Sill, even if it is to go through his retirement ceremony.