Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.-- The U.S. Army's Joint Munitions Command recently hosted a promotion ceremony for Chaplain (Lt. Col.) H. Emerson Byrd, Jr., at its headquarters.

Mr. William Schafer, Senior Human Resource Manager, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 for Headquarters, First Army, Rock Island Arsenal, presided over the ceremony. Schafer began the ceremony by welcoming all the distinguished Family, friends, and Department of the Army teammates in attendance. He then provided a brief biography of Byrd's career and assisted Byrd's family in promoting the JMC chaplain to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In attendance were Byrd's wife, Dorcas, and three of the couple's five children. Another daughter watched the ceremony through FaceTime.

Schafer explained how he and Byrd had served together previously in the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment (later 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment). Schafer, who is a retired Army colonel, was the Battalion commander while Byrd was the Battalion chaplain, so the two worked together frequently, including during a unit deployment to Iraq. Schafer praised Byrd's successes and noted, "We couldn't have had a better example of family than the chaplain and his wife and their family."

Byrd thanked his family and JMC leadership and staff for their support. "For 15 years, I've been blessed to serve in the Army."

Earlier in his pastoral career, Byrd and his wife served as co-administrators for four mission centers in inner-city Houston, Texas. Before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Byrds were seeking clarity in their career paths. Byrd's mother-in-law gave the couple information about how the Army needed chaplains, even before the 9/11 attacks. Following the attacks, Byrd decided to join the Army and was commissioned an officer in the Chaplain Corps in May 2002.

Byrd arrived at JMC in summer 2017. As JMC Chaplain, his goal is to "support the JMC workforce in its mission. My hope is that I will be able to work alongside our leadership across our organization to identify and engage the resources that the workforce needs for personal spiritual strength and resilience." He aims to continue the programs started by past JMC chaplains, including his friend and colleague, Chaplain (Maj.) Willie Mashack, the JMC Chaplain who preceded him.