ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - A former enlisted man took a step today few in the Armed Forces take - promotion to a general officer.

Brig. Gen. Larry Wyche, commanding general, Joint Munitions Command, was promoted to that rank at a promotion ceremony Sept. 19.

"This is truly a humbling experience. I'm very grateful for each and every one of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to share this special moment with the Wyche family," he said.

Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, Army Materiel Command commanding general, officiated the ceremony as several active and retired general officers attended the event.

"It is an honor and privilege to promote an officer to a general officer. We promote for two reasons: past performance and future potential," Griffin said. "Clearly those of us who have served with Larry Wyche know what his achievements have been with respect to past performance. And clearly we understand his great potential as a leader in the United States Army in this case with the Joint Munitions Command."

Wyche took over as JMC commander, Aug. 1. The new general thanked his family, community leaders, JMC employees, and a wide spectrum of military and government civilians both past and present. Wyche's son, David, an Army first lieutenant, presented his father with his general officer's belt. Wyche's wife, Denise, and daughters, assisted in pinning his star on his uniform and beret.

"Coming from a rural, small, country-town, Emporia, Va., where my grandparents were sharecroppers most of my younger years, this truly exemplifies how great this nation is with respect to the opportunity that is provided to each and every one of us, and it is just great to be part of such a great nation."

Both Griffin and Wyche are from Emporia, Va.

Supporting U.S. military members must remain the number one priority, according to Wyche.

"I promise you from the bottom of my heart, I will work harder to serve the people and the organizations that I serve with. I will always give it my all and I will remember that this is about selfless service. That I am a warfighter logistician and supporter prepared to give the shirt off my back and boots of my feet to support the fight. I will never say no as long as I have one gallon of gas to give and one bullet to give."

Wyche leads an organization with 14,000 employees that manages the ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots that provide ammunition to all military services, other Defense and federal agencies, and allied nations. These 19 installations are located in 16 states. Additionally, Joint Munitions Command has on-site ammunition experts stationed with U.S. military units throughout the world.