By Staff Sgt. Christopher McCulloughJune 10, 2017
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Maj. Gen. Mark J. O'Neil, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army Pacific, was honored during a Flying "V" ceremony held at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, June 9.
The Flying "V" ceremony was held to honor O'Neil for his distinguished service as he prepares to depart USARPAC. The "V" refers to the way the colors are posted during the ceremony, which is V-shaped.
Sixteen of USARPAC's subordinate and theater-enabling commands were represented on the parade field by Soldiers bearing the organizational colors and command teams.
U.S. Army Pacific commanding general, Gen. Robert B. Brown, officiated the ceremony and addressed O'Neil's importance to USARPAC and the impact he had on the command.
"Nobody brings good news to the chief of staff - that usually goes to the commander; the bad news goes to the chief, and he has to handle all the tough situations, and Mark did it extremely well," said Brown. "We're very proud of him."
O'Neil has 31 years on active duty with the U.S. Army. He has been with USARPAC since 2016, during which time he has worked as the chief of staff.
"He immediately reemphasized a sense of team work within the command when he got here, inclusiveness, sharing of information, recreating that mission command within the staff," Brown said. "He really got a battle rhythm going and got the staff moving out with a great mindset to make decisions and keep up with the pace that operations happen in today's world."
Brown went on to thank O'Neil for his contributions to USARPAC and stated how glad O'Neil will be staying in the USARPAC theater.
"Good news is, while the O'Neil's are leaving, they're not leaving the US Army Pacific team," Brown said. "He's going to command US Army Alaska; something Mark O'Neil is really excited about. So, we're keeping him on the team, but [he gets] a little change of climate."
O'Neil responded in kind, stating that Brown's remarks meant a great deal to him and that he appreciated the "amazing opportunity that has opened my eyes up to all the hard work and dedication that our Army Pacific soldiers and civilians have put into every effort."
"I could not have asked for a better year in this assignment," said O'Neil. "Gen. Brown, sir, it's been yet another first-class year. A lot of discovery learning on my end, but under your leadership I'm absolutely grateful for the environment you have forged at this command and I'm grateful to have been part of it."
He went on to add that he felt challenged to leave USARPAC better than it was when he arrived, and that he worked toward that end.
"I can only hope that I've done that for you here in the time we've spent together," O'Neil said.
O'Neil finished up by stating that while felt this tour of duty was a most rewarding and challenging part of his career, he is excited and grateful to have the opportunity to continue to serve as his he and his family transition to Alaska.
"We sure will miss this steady seventy-to-ninety-degree beach weather, but as they say in Alaska, the mountains are calling and we must go," O'Neil said. "I'm humbled and honored for the opportunity to command, and am looking forward to taking things to the next level in Alaska."