By Marie BerbereaNovember 1, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Newly promoted Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, Field Artillery School commandant and chief of FA, has put in the work and he's beat the odds. He was promoted to general officer during a ceremony Nov. 1 on Fort Sill's Old Post Quadrangle.
Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, explained to those in attendance that not many reach the one-star rank in the Army.
"Promotion to brigadier general is a big deal … no, it's a huge deal," McDonald said. "Currently out of the 540,000 Soldiers in the Army there are only 150 of brigadier generals. Only 10 of those are fires officers. That means in all the personnel in the military, the promotion rate to brigadier general is .0007. "
Bentley has helped shape young leaders in the Fires force here since June, and McDonald said he has ensured the field artillery "continues to provide the biggest bang for the buck."
Climbing the leadership ladder, Bentley has commanded artillery units at the battery, battalion and brigade levels. His service as a staff officer includes tours as an operation officer at the battalion level and on the Joint Staff, aide-de-camp to the Commander in Chief, U.S Pacific Command, executive assistant to the Vice Director of the Joint Staff, Chief of Staff, 82nd Airborne Division and executive officer to the Under Secretary of the Army and Forces Command commander.
During that time he spent 37 months deployed in Afghanistan. McDonald commended Bentley's wife, Anne, for her support enabling him to reach the level of general officer.
"Anne -- you're my best friend, the love of my life. At times the mother, and father of our children. Christopher and Elizabeth you are my purpose in life," said Bentley.
Bentley said his journey would not have been possible without his family.
"Today is about family. It's about the family I was born to be with, and it's about the family I was born to serve with. Mom and dad, thank you for always reminding me of the harder right over the easy wrong. I love you and know that I am the man today, because of the son you raised yesterday," said Bentley.
He also thanked his former first sergeants, command sergeants major, fellow officers and his current staff.
During the ceremony, McDonald replaced Bentley's service cap with one worn by general officers. Anne replaced his shoulder insignia with the one star rank. His son, Christopher, presented him with the general officer pistol made by the Army Standard Service revolver that has a serial number starting with the letters: G,O. His daughter, Elizabeth, presented him with the general officer belt, which is a black leather belt with an 18-karat gold buckle.
Afterward, Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Moriarity, FA School CSM , helped Bentley unroll his one-star flag.
Bentley saluted the troops while the 77th Army Band played, the Field Artillery Half-Section performed its ceremonial ride and Soldiers in 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery fired canons representing his first honors as a general officer.