Fort Sill welcomes new field artillery chief
July 3, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- The Lawton-Fort Sill, Okla., community welcomed the 50th Army Field Artillery School commandant and chief of FA with a reveille ceremony June 27, 2013 in front of McNair Hall.
Hundreds of service members, civilians, family and friends attended the 9 a.m. event to honor Col. Christopher Bentley and his family.
Ceremony host Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, said Bentley was hand selected to be commandant and FA chief.
"It's a difficult job ... and we have selected the right one," McDonald said.
"He's a knowledgeable leader, a strong leader and a man of character," the general said. "We are absolutely proud to have you on board. ... and, we can't wait to see what you'll accomplish."
Bentley was most recently the Forces Command executive officer at Fort Bragg, N.C., for the past year, noted McDonald.
"FORSCOM trains all of our deployable forces, so he's seen first hand exactly what field artillery units need to do, what state they're in and where they need to go," McDonald said. He's the right leader to take on field artillery.
He's a proven combat leader, who has completed three tours in Afghanistan, the general said. "He takes care of our sons and daughters. He takes them into combat and brings them out victorious."
In his speech, Bentley first honored all the Soldiers in formation.
"For we all know, without them we wouldn't be here today," he said.
The colonel said it was with great pride and humility that he takes on the responsibility of his new position. He said he is looking forward to working with the junior-enlisted Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians," who work tirelessly day-in and day-out to make the field artillery, the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill the best community and installation in the United States."
Bentley thanked Col. Martin Clausen, who served as interim school commandant and chief of FA since April.
"I've heard in Snow Hall that Marty is affectionately referred to as forty-nine and a-half, but there isn't anything that he accomplished that was a half," Bentley said. "His hard work never went unnoticed, he maintained the momentum."
Bentley said his focus will be to ensure that the Field Artillery School is the premier leader development and training platform for joint and combined arms fires. "We will continue to seek new ways and technologies to promote both efficiency and effectiveness."
"I am confident that we are on the right azimuth in developing the leaders of the future, and right materiel and organizations to support the maneuver commander in all unified land operations," Bentley said.
Closing, Bentley thanked his family, many of whom were present for the ceremony.
During reveille, the Fort Sill Field Artillery Half-Section crew fired its howitzer, and Sgt. Louis Henk presented Bentley with an engraved artillery canister symbolizing the first round fired in his honor as the new school commandant and chief of FA.