FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general received his second star Feb. 3 during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.

Hundreds of Soldiers, Army Aviation leaders, civilian employees, Family members and local officials honored Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield and his accomplishment.

Crutchfield's wife, Kim, and brother, Sgt. 1st Class Todd Crutchfield, stood with the general as retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, a former mentor of Crutchfield's, and Donald Adkins, Crutchfield's father-in-law, pinned the new rank on the general.

After putting on the new rank, Crutchfield thanked his former military mentors, his fellow Soldiers, local civilian leaders and his family.

"All I ever wanted to be was a Soldier, and I plan on Soldiering as long as the Army will let me be a Soldier," he said. "Today is not about me, I'd like to talk about some of the people who got me here.

"The only thing that could make this day more special is if three other people were here: my mother, my father and my mother-in-law. I'm a lucky man - I had two sets of parents. I know they're proud of me - they helped me get here."

He then thanked various mentors, from general officers to warrant officers to noncommissioned officers.

"As a young officer, to the NCOs, I listened and I watched," he said. "To the warrant officers, I learned. To my senior mentors, I listened. Those Soldiers, those countless Soldiers - some of them are here now - they did the heavy lifting. They lifted me up - that's why I'm here."

The Army's newest major general also credited support from the local communities.

"And to the communities around Fort Rucker that surround us like a blanket - it's like a security blanket to me. That's why I'm here," he said.

Crutchfield thanked his children, adding that he "couldn't be more proud of them. They've grown to be two wonderful adults."

And saving the "most important" for last, the general closed the ceremony by thanking his wife for her love and support throughout his career.

"The best thing I ever did was when I was about 15 years old," he said. "I walked up behind a beautiful, blue-eyed blonde girl, leaned over, kissed her and whispered in her ear, 'I love you.' Happily, after 30 years of marriage, I'm here because of my wife.

"She never made me choose between her and the Army," he said. "She's not going anywhere - I think it's going to work out."