Col. Peggy Combs doesn’t credit her success to luck. She knows it was her mother who set her career as an Army officer in motion.
Then a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves, her mother, Pat, brought home an ROTC flyer for Combs when she was a junior in high school. She received an ROTC scholarship and attended Syracuse University, later commissioning as a second lieutenant.
With the sun narrowly peaking over the Cadet Command headquarters building Friday morning, Combs took over as the command’s deputy commander at a change of responsibility ceremony at Cadet Park.
“So, Mom, I’m back home at ROTC,” she said.
Fresh off her previous assignment as chief of the Full Dimension Protection Directorate in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff in Washington, D.C., Combs said she is pleased to be assisting the molding, shaping and development of Cadets.
“It’s exciting about so many things,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work nationwide with the development of our future Army officers and with Junior ROTC in its citizenship program. I think that’s really important work.”
Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Cadet Command’s commanding general, welcomed Combs to Fort Knox. He said he had previously worked with Combs overseas in the training of Iraqi police officers. Having seen her in combat and in stressful situations, he said he knows Combs is a fine leader.
But welcoming one great leader means saying goodbye to another, McDonald pointed out, taking a moment during Friday’s ceremony to thank and recognize Brig. Gen. Barrye Price for his work as deputy commander over the last year.
“Transitions are not easy,” McDonald said, speaking of the Base Realignment and Closure process that brought Cadet Command to Fort Knox from Fort Monroe, Va. “When you’re moving something as complex as Cadet Command, you can’t miss a beat. He was the guy we needed at that time to really kick-start this transition.”
Price is moving to Washington, D.C., to work at the Pentagon as the director of Human Resources Policy Directorate. In saying farewell, Price urged his Cadet Command family to continue to push for excellence. He also wished his successor luck in her new duties.
Combs also took time to thank Price for making her transition to Fort Knox a simple one.
“I wish you Godspeed as you move on to the Pentagon,” she said. “And I wish you God’s blessing as you continue to serve our nation.”
As for Combs, who will soon be promoted, she said she is ready to give back to the organization that gave her a great start.
“When I found out that I was selected for brigadier general, it was like Christmas,” she said. “But when I found out that I was coming to Cadet Command, it was like coming downstairs at Christmas and finding out that the biggest gift under the tree was yours. I’m so excited to be here.”