By Staff Sgt. Matthew BrittonMarch 8, 2019
United States Army Central (USARCENT) held a change of command ceremony March 8, 2019 at Lucky Park outside of the command's headquarters on Shaw Air Force Base. Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett relinquished command to Lt. Gen. Terry R. Ferrell after serving for three years as the unit's commanding general.
Garrett has been nominated for promotion to the rank of General, the highest officer rank in the U.S. military, and will go on to serve as commanding general for U.S. Army Forces Command located at Fort Bragg, N.C.
USARCENT has authority over all U.S. Army forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, and has played an integral role in the 18 year-long conflict in the Middle East.
Throughout his tenure, Garrett has been heavily involved in USARCENT's area of responsibility. This includes the command's numerous operations to build and foster partnerships in the CENTCOM region, the on-going ground wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and the continued effort to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
General Joseph L. Votel, commanding general of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), presided over the ceremony.
"I can tell you first-hand, managing one combat operation keeps you busy enough," said Votel. "But Mike has had his hands full as the Coalition Land Forces Commander, supporting up to three named operations across the duration of his command in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The way USARCENT has supported these on-going missions brilliantly, day in and day out, is a testament to the leadership of the command team of Mike Garrett and Command Sgt. Maj. Curt J. Cornelison."
Votel went on to speak about how the support of Garrett's staff and family greatly contributed to the out-going commander's success.
Garrett reminisced on his time in USARCENT and stressed the importance of being a good leader.
"I was able to make 41 trips to the Middle East and Central and South Asia in what we call battlefield circulation, so that I could lead in person," said Garrett. "I won't forget the heat in the Middle East, but my fondest memories will be of the people I met. Hopefully the biggest impact I've had is on the people. In the past 40 months over 100,000 patriotic, young American, women and men, have served under the USARCENT colors. And for those 100,000 great Americans, leadership is important."
Garrett continued to thank those who have worked for him and the never ending support of his family.
"I'm very proud of my son Mikey," said Garrett. "He told me he wanted to go to the United States Military Academy. I thought four or five years from now we'd be done with this, we're not. My guess is that my son, like many of your sons and daughters, will carry on the fight. I'm very proud of my family. My entire life my sisters have gone sometimes without so that their only brother can have. They continue to do that today by taking care of my dad. They try to unencumber me with very important family matters, so that I can do this today."
Garrett ended his speech with the unit's motto.
"Thanks to you all, and for the final time I get to say, third is always first."
Ferrell was promoted to lieutenant general just before the ceremony and most recently served as the USCENTCOM chief of staff.
"Everyone in the audience, thank you all for coming," said Ferrell. "I am truly honored and humbled to be here today and joining the U.S. Army Central third Army team. To U.S. Army Central Soldiers, I'm truly excited to be on your team. Without you U.S. Central wouldn't be able to do its job. There's change on the horizon, we know that, we'll adjust to the change. This headquarters is prepared for that and I look forward to the challenges."
Ferrell was commissioned in 1984 as an armor officer upon graduating from Marshall University. His assignments include multiple joint and operational tours, staff assignments at numerous levels, as well as several commands. Highlights include commanding 3d Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) based in Fort Stewart, Georgia and deployed in support of Operation Joint Forge and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Ferrell's military education includes completion of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation from Marshall University, a Master of Business Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.
USARCENT's area of responsibility spans more than 4 million square miles, stretching from Northeast Africa, across the Middle East, to Central and South Asia, a total of 20 countries. The 20 nations of the AOR include: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.