By Sharon L. HartmanDecember 4, 2008
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command takes pride in many firsts in Army history. The Peterson Air and Space Museum was the setting for another Army first as the first Space Operations Officer (Functional Area 40) groomed and selected from the career field was promoted to the ranks of general officer. During an afternoon ceremony, Col. Kurt S. Story, deputy commander for operations, SMDC/ARSTRAT, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
The career field of Space Operations Officers (FA40s) began in the Army in 1997 and Story was designated an FA40 in 2001. Shortly after coming to U.S. Army Space Command (ARSPACE) as Chief of Staff in 2002, Story attended the Space Operations Officer Qualification Course. Today, there are approximately 250 active duty FA40s serving in the Army.
In 2003, Story became SMDC/ARSTRAT G3, Chief of Operations, and then in 2004 and 2005 served as commander of the 1st Space Brigade. In 2006, Story left the command to serve as the Director of Operations (J3) for the Joint Functional Component Command - Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In July of this year, Story once again returned to SMDC/ARSTRAT in his current position. Although the position Story has been serving in since July of this year remains the same, the title changes from Deputy Commander for Operations to Deputy Commanding General for Operations (DCG-O), SMDC/ARSTRAT, with the rank change.
Presiding over the promotion ceremony was SMDC/ARSTRAT Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell, who conveyed in his remarks his confidence in Story to carry out the role of a general officer.
"I think if we look to vision, confidence, care, enthusiasm and the traditional Army values - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honesty, integrity and personal courage - I think that's what makes general officers. Those are the attributes you find in Kurt Story," said Campbell.
"We are at an age when we really do need combat multipliers such as you. It is people that make the difference, and you're one of the people who make a difference and I know that you're going to make a difference in Space and Missile Defense Command. You come with great space expertise and you know that we're doing quite a bit today in space, deploying forces and supporting commanders. That's important work and there couldn't be a better person doing that than you today on behalf of the Army and on behalf of combatant commanders."
After Campbell's comments, Story's wife, Holly, father Bill and mother Jan assisted in the pinning ceremony. Story's father, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, upon pinning his son with a star, stepped sharply in front of him and gave him his first salute as a general officer.
In his first remarks as a general officer, Story gave credit to the many people who have had an impact on his successful military career.
"Though I am the one here today who is being pinned and being honored with the promotion, it really is not about me ... and I don't mean those as little words. They're very important words to me," Story began.
"I was molded and taught and trained and mentored and corrected by the finest Army in the world - the privates, the specialists, the sergeants, the noncommissioned officers, the warrant officers, the civilians and, in the modern day Army, the contractors. They're the ones who basically molded me and shaped me into what I am.
"They're not here ... but I'm representing them here today because they took me and basically made me understand what it means to serve a country, and I would like to honor them by saying I appreciate everything they've done for me."
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Horne, a former SMDC/ARSTRAT DCG-O, was also a Space Operations Officer. Story is the first officer specifically groomed and selected from the Space career field to be promoted to general.