FORT HOOD, Texas – At a ceremony at the III Armored Corps headquarters, Soldiers, families, and community leaders gathered May 4 to bid farewell to two of the corps’ most senior officers and their families, while also welcoming a tested leader from the United Kingdom to the ranks.
The corps honored Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Beck, deputy commanding general-maneuver, and U.K. Maj. Gen. Michael R. Keating, deputy commanding general – support, for their dedicated service to the III Armored Corps, and welcomed U.K. Maj. Gen. Ben Cattermole as the new deputy commanding general – support.
Presiding over the various afternoon events was the III Armored Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe.
“This is a big corps, and within this corps is a big installation, and I most certainly couldn’t have done it alone,” Bernabe said. “I certainly put a lot of big rocks in these two gentlemen’s rucksacks. I could not be doing this without their help.”
Members of the First Cavalry Division Color Guard and distinguished guests attended the event to share their heartfelt gratitude for the general officers’ invaluable contributions to the III Armored Corps and to extend a warm welcome to the new deputy commander.
“It’s been truly my honor to serve the Soldiers, civilians, and families of the Phantom Warrior Team,” Beck said. “My real purpose here today is to say thank you to the incredible communities who support our team each and every day.”
Beck previously served as the commander of the Southwestern Division of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is going on to serve as the commanding general, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The ceremony also served as the official transfer of duties between the two U.K. generals, from Keating to Cattermole. The unique position Keating held the past two years was born between a partnership between American and U.K. forces.
Keating humbly expressed his gratitude for the experience, thanking the Soldiers, community leaders, senior military personnel, and friends for attendance. He recalls his time in Texas with cowboy culture and jokingly admits he has more cowboy boots than belts, “catching the Texas bug.”
“Our first emersion in Texas culture was the rodeo: Killeen, Gatesville, Belton, and Houston.” Keating said.
Reflecting on his time at Fort Hood, he recalled, “Seven-hundred twenty days ago, I stood on this very spot, a newly promoted major general. You were all incredibly welcoming.”
As the fifth deputy commander for support from the United Kingdom, Keating came to Fort Hood after last serving as the U.K. liaison for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Keating has a background in Aviation and served with United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II a commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an award bestowed for meritorious service to the government during peace, as well as for gallantry in wartime.
Cattermole comes to the III Armored Corps with a wealth of experience, and he will be the sixth deputy commander – support from the U.K., having previously served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, an armored regiment based in Germany. He has served around the world including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Cattermole worked in Defence Intelligence, as military assistant to the Chief of the General Staff and author of the British Army’s capstone doctrine, Land Operations. Cattermole has master’s degrees in Classics from Oxford and in international relations.
“Whatever we do is built on the legacy of those who have gone before us,” Cattermole said. “We are only caretakers of whatever institution we are privileged to serve. It is a privilege to serve, and my first commitment is to repay that privilege in service to the III Armored Corps.”
Previously in the day the corps also honored the families of both outgoing generals for their steadfast support to the community. Both Sally Beck and Janie Keating, respective spouses of the outgoing general officers, were honored with various awards, to include receiving the Yellow Rose of Texas Award conferred to them by the governor of Texas.