Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, left, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, stands with Brig. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, deputy commanding general - operations for 10th Mountain Division (LI), after promoting him during a ceremony Friday at LeRay Mansion.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The 10th Mountain Division (LI) command group conducted a promotion ceremony at LeRay Mansion on Friday.

Soldiers, Family and local community members were on hand to congratulate Brig. Gen. Richard D. Clarke on earning his first star.

Serving as the officiating officer was Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander.

Milley spoke about Clarke's impact on the division and Fort Drum.

"We were blessed with a diamond as we got assigned Rich Clarke as the deputy commanding general of operations," Milley said. "Rich is No. 1. … There is no question in my mind."

Milley then thanked all those in attendance for coming out before introducing Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of Joint Special Operations Command.

Votel attended the event to serve as the presiding officer, to share some wisdom with Clarke and to welcome him to the general officer ranks.

"Rich Clarke is the best officer I have ever had the opportunity to serve with," Votel said. "It is no surprise to me that we are here to witness his promotion to brigadier general."

Once Votel finished his remarks, he called Clarke to the podium.

His wife, Suzanne, and children, Will and Madeleine, placed the new one-star rank on Clarke's shoulders during the event.

After the pinning of the new brigadier general, the official party uncased the general's new one-star flag.

Clarke then took center stage and spoke.

"This is really a humbling experience for me and my Family," Clarke said.

"I want to thank you all for coming and for all those who traveled so far to be here today," he continued.

Clarke spoke about his past and what has led up to this point in his life. He also thanked his Family and friends for supporting his decision to join and stay in the military.

Page last updated Wed August 15th, 2012 at 00:00