SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – In order to get promoted from one rank to the next in the U.S. Army, one must possess unquestionable character and demonstrate competency and the potential to succeed; a process that takes months to years depending on the next step in a given career.
Recently, the Army resurrected a process by which to identify worthy leaders serving in a position above their current rank and select them for promotion outside of the normal promotion board cycle. The process is referred to as the ‘brevet promotion’ system.
Brevet promotions have existed in the Army since the Revolutionary War, with the first promotion taking place in 1776. Since the end of World War I, brevet promotions have been essentially unheard of, but one 25th Infantry Division officer is now a member of the inaugural class of the resurrected system. Col. Joshua Gaspard, the division’s operations officer, is one of a select few lieutenant colonels breveted to colonel because of his prior performance and current duty responsibilities.
“No one deserved this promotion more than Josh," said Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, Commander of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force-Africa and the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Deputy Commanding General. "It did not surprise me that he is one of the first officers in over 100 years to get this promotion. Not only is Josh a phenomenal officer and leader, but he is also an amazing father and husband," he said.
Rohling first worked with Gaspard in 2003 while they were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I have a long history with Josh; he has been phenomenal," said Rohling. "I am not surprised to see he is one of the first in the Army to get this promotion, and no one is more [deserving] than him."
Gaspard, who reported to the division during the summer of 2020, sites his personal relationships and previous leaders as a driving factor in his success.
"I think when you look at it, [through] all the lenses, I have had phenomenal bosses and leadership throughout the years, and I can say without a doubt I have never been in a bad unit,” said Gaspard. “I have no bad stories.
But Gaspard was also quick to credit those on the home front as well.
“What I will tell you is, really, my wife Andrea; she's a mother of four, graduated from West Point, she went back to school and got her nursing degree, nurse practitioners degree, and her doctorate in nursing practice,” Gaspard added. “To see what she does and always putting our children first, it's all pretty inspiring."
Not only did Gaspard’s superior have great things to say about him, young officers who have worked for him also expressed their admiration and spoke highly of him.
“Colonel Gaspard has a way of uniting people from different backgrounds, different orientations, different religions, and making us believe we can work together for a cause,” said Capt. Bryant Adams, a battle captain assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
Adams, who first met Gaspard while he was matriculating the Captain’s Career Course, went on to say, "What I admire most about Colonel Gaspard is that he is someone that will stay in my life as long as I’m alive; he is not someone you work for and you forget."
Although the rest of his Army career is uncertain, Gaspard said he is up to the challenge of whatever remains in store for him.