FORT MEADE, Md. -- Washington D.C.-native Brig. Gen. Phillip Churn was promoted to the rank of major general during an Aug. 3 morning formation in front of the Fort Meade-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 200th Military Police Command.
Churn, who now lives in Lorton, Virginia, is the commanding general of the largest Department of Defense military police organization and oversees more than 13,000 Army Reserve MPs living in 44 states.
Churn picked two of the youngest Reserve Soldiers in formation to change his rank to assist in the promotion ceremony.
Pvt. Christopher Layman replaced the one star with the two-star rank in front of the command headquarters who oversees operations across four MP brigades, three CID battalions and numerous public affairs and chaplain detachments.
As Churn took his initial few steps as a two-star general, his first action was to shake the hand of the HHC guidon bearer, Spc. Nelson Castellanos, from Alexandria, Virginia and thanked him for his service in the Army Reserve.
"It's important for me to be promoted in front of you all today," Churn told the formation. "You are why I am here today. I will tell you this right now; I didn't get here by myself."
Churn told the formation of more than 150 Soldiers that his military roots were deeply embedded within the noncommissioned officer corps.
"My father was a retired sergeant first class," he said. "He instilled that sergeant's discipline as part of my values, so I haven't forgotten my roots with the NCO Corps. I am indebted to our NCO Corps."
Churn said the NCOs are the backbone of our Army and part of the NCO's responsibilities is to train officers.
"Never forget this," he said to the enlisted Soldiers.
When in Afghanistan as the commander of the 333rd Military Police Brigade, out of Farmingdale, New York, Churn said he measured success by the sergeants and staff sergeants executing a mission.
"It's no different now," he said. "Sergeants, you have to lead your Soldiers, train your Soldiers and make sure they are squared away."
He went on to tell officers and seniors NCOs it was their mission to guide young sergeants and staff sergeants.
"Ensure they know what 'right' looks like," he said. "We must ensure we are giving the right guidance to our sergeants so they can execute any mission. Ensure we live within our ethos."
For the past several months, Churn has been at the helm of the 200th MPCOM after Maj. Gen. Sanford Holman relinquished his command during a ceremony May 4.
"We are Soldiers, and the American public looks toward us to make sure everything stays right," he said. "Our mission is to ensure our American way of life endures."