FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Oct. 9, 2019) -- The Army Futures Command gained a new general when Col. John Rafferty was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony, Oct. 4, outside McNair Hall.
Rafferty is the director of the Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross Functional Team.
During the ceremony, Rafferty told the story of when he first joined the Army in 1987, as an enlisted Soldier. As he approached his Basic Combat Training graduation from Fort Benning, Georgia, he called home to his mother who was upset that neither she nor his father would be able to attend the graduation.
"I said well I'm going to be home that night and I've got a week of leave before I go to Germany so I'll see you. So it's not a big deal," Rafferty said. "But she was reading from the (graduation) letter and she said, 'but your company commander says this could be the greatest day of your life,' and my father immediately said, 'God, I hope not.'
Rafferty said what he learned from his father in that moment was that his upcoming basic training graduation was not going to be the pinnacle of his career.
"His point to me … was that if I can do that, anything was possible," said Rafferty. "Everything was out in front of me. And we didn't envision this, but (the graduation) was the beginning and not the end."
During the promotion, Rafferty's children Erin and Evan replaced the colonel eagle shoulder boards with an epaulet showing a single star. Rafferty's wife, Tracey, and his father, retired Army Col. John Rafferty, provided him with the general officer's accouterment. He received a ceremonial general officer belt and a pistol.
"The Army is a team sport," said Rafferty, "It takes teamwork and support to get here. I didn't get here by myself."
The host for the ceremony was Lt. Gen. James Richardson, deputy commanding general of Army Futures Command. Richardson welcomed the attendees before sharing with the audience, the statistical odds of Rafferty's promotion.
"John graduated (Longwood University) in 1993, and was commissioned as a field artillery officer. That year the Army commissioned 3,577 lieutenants into the United States Army. Only 46 of those officers were selected for promotion to brigadier general," said Richardson. He went on to say, "to put that in perspective, you're more likely to win the Price is Right twice than achieve the rank of general."
"As the statistics indicate, John's promotion to general is incredibly impressive. John's joining a very select few with this promotion. Gen. Eisenhower told his troops on D Day, "You're about to embark upon the great crusade for which you have striven for many years. As a general John, you are about to do the same."
Rafferty has been the commander of the LRPF cross function team for the past year. Later this month he will be speaking at a Association of the United States Army event with other members from the LRPF team.