Soldiers assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg and community leaders, along with their families gathered at the Eternal Flame located at the main post parade field to honor and farewell the Assistant Commanding General - Operations (AGO) of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and present him and his family members service awards, May 20.
Canadian Brig. Gen. Robert T. Ritchie was honored during the 'Dragon Honors' Farewell Ceremony hosted by Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Prior to the ceremony, Donahue presented Ritchie the Distinguished Service Medal and his wife, Joanna, with the Meritorious Public Service Medal.
Following the award presentation, the formal portion of the ceremony began with Paratroopers assigned to B-Co, 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, commanded by Capt. Michael Polland and 1st Sgt. Jose Lopez, fired a 15-round Howitzer salute. Polland presented Ritchie with a shell casing from the Howitzer as a token of appreciation for his service to the Corps.
After the salute, Donahue highlighted the work Ritchie has done during his two years assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps, including his service to the Corps and its Soldiers both at home and while deployed. During his remarks, Donahue reinforced Ritchie’s leadership and commitment to elevating the Corps’s focus on building a culture of innovation across America's Contingency Corps.
“There is really no other quality that you could have in a general officer that you would want and Bob, you are a remarkable general officer,” Donahue said. “His unbounding resilience, his organizational skills, and energy are what have driven this Corps forward.”
Donahue finished by thanking the outgoing AGO for his technical and tactical expertise, as well as his friendship. Donahue thanked Ritchie’s family for their support during Ritchie’s time in service to the Corps and its Soldiers.
Following the Corps commander’s remarks, Ritchie took to the podium to express his gratitude and appreciation for everyone across Fort Bragg.
Ritchie spoke to the audience about his time as the AGO, saying how honored he was to have been a part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Ritchie is slated to be the Chief of Staff for the Vice Chief of Defense Staff for the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Serving in the XVIII Airborne Corps has been, without a doubt, the honor of a lifetime and certainly the highlight of my 28-year military career,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie concluded his remarks by thanking everyone he served with as well as his wife Joanna, daughter Ava, and son Ryan for their love and support.