By By Kellie EtheridgeAugust 13, 2010
A ceremony for Col. Victor Petrenko, the deputy commander and chief of staff of the U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, was held at the Brooks Field Court of Honor Friday to mark his promotion to brigadier general.
The Commander of Fort Knox and Accessions Command Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, hosted the event.
The commanding general welcomed all present and thanked them for joining Col. Petrenko for his promotion.
"You're here to see this great Soldier get recognized with a promotion," said Lt. Gen. Freakley. "(We're) here to honor a fine officer, a superb leader, and a great American."
Lt. Gen. Freakley addressed the audience about the history of the general officer and the use of stars and insignia. Then he described Petrenko's vast military career, in-cluding his roles in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and deployments in support of relief efforts for hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in the southern U.S.
"He is a warrior. He is a Soldier. He is a leader...a dedicated son, husband, and father," said Lt. Gen. Freakley. "He is the definition in my mind of an officer. He lives the Army values, epitomizes the Warrior Ethos."
Petrenko's colonel insignias were removed from his epaulettes and replaced by a star on each. He took the oath of office for his promotion, and afterward was presented with the still-smoking aftcap from the first round fired in his honor.
To complete his promotion, Brig. Gen. Petrenko was presented with a one-star general's flag and a general officer pistol belt and pistol.
"I'm truly humbled by not only the promotion, but more importantly your attendance," the brigadier general said. "When I entered service 27 years ago, I never dreamed I'd be standing here at beautiful Fort Knox, being promoted to a general officer."
Petrenko explained how his military aspirations had only been to reach the rank of captain.
"I need to thank the Lord Almighty for all the blessings He has bestowed on my family, for I truly believe that nothing is possible without His help," he said.
Brig. Gen. Petrenko went on to thank his family-immediate and extended-which includes his Army family. He thanked them for their support, mentorship, and love. He became choked up at one point and said that it was difficult to explain the bonds forged.
Before ending his speech, Brig. Gen. Petrenko asked for a round of applause for "all the great veterans that have served our nation."
He closed by thanking everyone again who came to the ceremony and extended another thank you to his wife and family.
"They are the true reason for my success," he said.