Pennsylvania's own promoted to brigadier general
July 17, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C.--Col. Lewis G. Irwin, commander of 926th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in an official ceremony here Saturday at 5pm.
The event was held in conjunction with 412th TEC's 3-day Commander's Readiness Workshop held at the USARC headquarters. More than 70 key leaders and primary staff representing the TEC and its 26 brigades, battalions and direct reporting units were in attendance to witness this milestone for the Irwin family.
Mrs. Marcia Irwin pinned on her husband's 'one star', while daughters, Mary and Eva, each presented the General Officer Flag and the General Officer Belt. A large crowd of family and friends beamed with joy as Maj. Gen. William M. Buckler, Jr., commanding general of 412th Theater Engineer Command, administered the Oath of Office to the Army's newest brigadier general.
Struggling to fight back tears during his remarks to a full house, Irwin said he was especially thankful to his wife and children for their patience and support over the years. He credits them for any and all successes in his life, as he couldn't have done it without them.
He reflected on his younger years and growing up in small town America, in rural Claysville, Pa., attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the essence of hard work and staying focus to succeed in life. He talked about the value of family, trust, education, friendship and the people he's met and remembered through the years.
He also made a point of not letting this 'star' get to his head, the need to stay grounded and to do one's best to get the job done and to take care of Soldiers. He recalled an important lesson from retired Gen. Colin Powell's own experience as a one-star….that no one is indispensable.
Irwin is a 1982 graduate of McGuffey High School and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. In 2008 he returned from a tour of active duty in Afghanistan, during which he led an interagency effort to design and implement a nation-wide reform of the Afghan National Police (ANP). He currently commands the 926th Engineer Brigade, headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and he also serves as an Army Reserve Adjunct Professor for Research at the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute.
In his civilian career, Irwin is a professor of public policy and government at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He holds masters degrees and a doctorate in political science from Yale University, as well as a masters in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. Irwin is the author of two books on American politics and a variety of journal articles on national security and public policy, among other publications. Most recently, he published a third book on Afghanistan and the U.S. Government's strategic and interagency challenges there.
During more than 26 years of service in the U.S. Army, Irwin has served in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Panama, Germany, and Afghanistan, as well as a variety of stateside locations, for both operations and training. His active duty service has included tours in the 101st Airborne Division; a combat tour with the 3rd Armored Division during Desert Storm; a Sapper company comman in the 1st Armored Division; and service with the Afghan National Police. Other command assignments have included command of the 2nd Battalion, 312th Regimemt, and the 301st Regional Support Group.
Irwin's military awards include two Bronze Star Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, and various other service-connected awards. He is also Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper, and Jungle Warfare qualified.
Irwin and his wife Marcia and their three children live in McMurray. Their oldest daughter, Mary, is a 2012 graduate of West Point and will be assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division's Sustainment Brigade this Fall. Their daughter Eva is studying to be a teacher at Washington and Jefferson College, where she plays collegiate volleyball. Their son, Andrew, is a cadet in the Class of 2016 at West Point.