Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.--The Aberdeen Proving Ground community said goodbye to Maj. Gen. (P) Robert S. Ferrell, former commander of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), Tuesday night at a dinner event on the installation.Ferrell received Senate confirmation of his third star and new assignment to the position of Chief Information Officer/G-6, Office of the Secretary of the Army December 20. He relinquished command Dec. 23.As the Chief Information Officer for the Army, Ferrell is now responsible for delivering world-class enterprise services, for enabling network capabilities, and developing information technology policy and architecture to direct information technology activities across the Army. As the G-6, Ferrell represents the operational commanders' interests in ensuring the network enables a smaller, more capable Army. His promotion ceremony to lieutenant general will be Jan. 24 in the Pentagon.About 120 command, installation and community leaders turned out to honor the general's accomplishments as the CECOM commander and the senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground. "Tonight we honor and say farewell to a great leader, teacher and mentor," said Col. Charles Gibson, CECOM's Chief of Staff, who provided the opening remarks.
The mayors of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace expressed their gratitude for Ferrell's emphasis on local community relations and his theme of transparency and engagement. Representatives from the state and federal governments provided proclamations recognizing Ferrell's leadership at CECOM and APG. Ferrell was presented a resolution from the President of the Maryland State Senate, Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., "… in recognition of leading a number of initiatives to foster and build the relationships between the installation and the local communities." During Ferrell's command tenure, he received recognition as the Military Leader of the Year by the Association of Defense Communities for his community outreach initiatives.Representatives of Aberdeen's Signal Corps Regimental Association chapter also presented Ferrell with the Silver Order of Mercury Award. The award is the Signal Corps Association's highest and is only presented to those who stand above their peers and have made conspicuous, long-term significant contributions to the U.S. Army Signal Corps.Col. Patrick Kerr, commander of CECOM's Information Systems Engineering Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., reflected on Ferrell's unwavering commitment to others. "… I have probably known Gen. Ferrell the longest in this room, since he was Capt. Ferrell and I was Lt. Kerr. He has always been known to look out and take care of people and that has never wavered. His focus, drive, and follow through have always been the same."
Monique Ferrell, the general's wife, was also recognized for her support of the APG community. Mr. Gary P. Martin, Deputy to the Commanding General of CECOM and now the command's acting director presented Mrs. Ferrell with the Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service. Mrs. Ferrell received the award for her "selfless contributions to the Soldiers, civilians, and Families of CECOM and Team APG."During the farewell event, Ferrell said that "the saddest words I heard were former CECOM commander and former commander of APG." He thanked everyone for their support and attributed his success to that support. "This promotion to lieutenant general is our promotion. Our unconditional relationship allowed us to achieve great things no matter what the obstacle. This would not have been achieved without you."Ferrell concluded by saying "You have a good thing going at APG. You have the magic here. Continue that magic. Take care of one another. This will remain a model for the Army- a national treasure."During his closing remarks Martin said to Ferrell, "In our first conversation, you talked about focusing on a few priorities: providing support to the Warfighter; taking care of people; partnership with the community; and positioning CECOM for an era of declining resources. All of these were achieved."As acting director, Martin now assumes the senior leadership role for CECOM until a new commander is named. Gibson has assumed the role of acting installation commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground.