FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Sept. 17, 2020) -- Nineteen years ago, then-Capt. Phil Brooks had just finished battery command at Fort Irwin, California, when he heard about 9/11.“I knew that my life, my family’s life, and my friends’ lives would change forever,” said now-Brig. Gen. Brooks, Field Artillery School commandant and chief of FA, and deputy commanding general Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. “May we never forget those lost on that day,”Brooks used the occasion at his promotion ceremony to general officer Sept. 11, to reflect back on the attacks on the U.S. Dozens of fellow service members, veterans, community and post leaders, family, and friends attended the morning ceremony at the Old Post Quadrangle.Officiating Officer Lt. Gen. James Rainey, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) commanding general, also spoke about 9/11.There are young people coming in the Army whose entire lives have been defined in a post-9/11 environment, Rainey said. “Soldiers, if you need a reason to get excited about what you do, to knuckle down, to stay committed to lead men and women in defense of our country, I would offer reflecting on 9/11 every single day of your life.“For those that were lost on that tragic day, and the men and women who have given their lives fighting for our country since then, they are all worthy of our time, and if you’re inclined, your prayers,” said Rainey.Military familiesRainey also spoke about the importance of the military family. He described Brooks’ wife Lori as graceful, charming, loving, tough, and committed.“I always say behind every great Soldier, there is a better spouse,” Rainey said. “Phil is a phenomenal Soldier, and (Lori), that just goes to tell you how awesome you are.”Army spouses have an expectation of the military lifestyle they are getting into; however, Army children are just born into it, Rainey said.It’s hard with all the moving, constantly making new friends, and dealing with deployed parents, Rainey said. “You’re a captain at one place then you have to start over on the rookie squad but, all that comes together and you become these incredibly resilient, wonderful young men and women.“You guys are wonderful role models,” Rainey said, to Brooks’ daughter Amelia, a student at the University of Kentucky; and son 2nd Lt. Wes Brooks, an officer in the Medical Department Direct Commissioning Course here.G.O.sTo become a general officer one has to be beyond good and great, Rainey said. “When you see one selected to be a general officer it’s a recognition by the Army of exceptional talent.”Brooks is exceptional at combat leadership and warfighting, the CAC commander said. That’s a couple things to be exceptional at for a county that’s at war.Brooks is an inspirational combat leader who has commanded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Rainey.“Phil, if I had one mission that I needed one unit to accomplish in the worst possible fight that I could imagine, I would want you leading that,” Rainey said.PromotionDuring the ceremony, family members replaced Brooks’ colonel rank with one-star shoulder boards.He was also presented an Army-issued personal sidearm by his cousin David Brooks. It was a Sig Sauer 9mm with an enhanced finish, and a serial number beginning with G.O.Brooks’ one-star flag was unfurled by Command Sgt. Maj. Michael McMurdy, FA School CSM, and two retired CSMs who had served with Brooks.Family, friends, and Soldiers from virtually every duty station where Brooks served the past 26 years were in attendance. Life is more fun with great teammates, said the new general.“First, I give thanks and praise to my Lord Savior, my family, my friends, my mentors, and my battle buddies old and new,” he said. “The Army is a people business. I am simply a product of the people here today, and those watching virtually. Thank you for your commitment and support to me.”He also acknowledged many family members who were influential, but are now deceased.“I know they are smiling today,” he said.The new general praised his children, and he thanked his wife.“I’m constantly amazed at your resilience,” he said. “While Dad has been away, both of you have been committed to excellence in everything you do.”Since 9/11, Brooks said he’s been fortunate to always return home from combat deployments to caring people. He said he’s known other Soldiers who didn’t return.“May we never forget any of these service members that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our freedom, and may we continue to take good care of the service members, and  their families, that have returned home wounded,” he said.Brooks said he is committed to defending the nation’s freedom, and to develop future leaders, and to drive change for field artillery.He closed by quoting President Theodore Roosevelt: “It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or who the doer of deeds could have done them better.“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood.”