By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampSeptember 8, 2011
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Sept. 8, 2010) -- The town of Middletown, R.I., boasts two general officers in the Army from one family, and their mother Helen, who calls them Mike and Charlie, says, "Pity the enemy."
Brig. Gen. Charles A. Flynn was promoted Sept. 6 at Zais Park by the outgoing commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., and Flynn's brother, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, special assistant to the deputy chief of staff G-2 of the Army.
Caslen said Flynn showed great promise as a general officer.
"It's the right decision for our Army to make you a general officer, and I'm so glad I get to see it come to be," Caslen said.
The Flynn brothers are two of Charles and Helen Flynn's nine children. Upon receiving his promotion to general officer, Charles Flynn said his late father was one of the three great men in his life who influenced how he made decisions and led others. The other two great men Flynn mentioned were retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and retired Lt. Gen. John R. Vines. Flynn served under both during his 26 years of service before becoming a general officer himself.
Flynn has been selected as interim commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. He previously served as the director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Fort Leavenworth as it was stood up as an organization. MC CoE is focusing on improving the command climate and training commanders so that their knowledge goes beyond the old command and control terminology.
Before his assignments to Fort Leavenworth, Flynn was executive officer to the commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan. He commanded the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq in 2007-08, and commanded the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division for two years in Afghanistan and Iraq, in 2002-03 in Operation Enduring Freedom and 2003-04 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Flynn also served in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91.
Flynn said most of his gratitude was due his family, especially his wife, Kathleen and children, Molly, Sean and Tara.
"They've borne a decade of war, and through that they've endured the loss of a husband and dad for a time period exceeding the Second World War," Flynn said.
His family helped other military families cope with their own losses, their own fallen Soldiers, and still had to continue with their own daily lives.
"The grind goes on, year after year," he said.
Flynn paused for a moment in grief, remembering those fallen Soldiers, the families of the fallen, and those Soldiers and families who continue their lives in the Army in spite of those fears.
"All the Soldiers and leaders who, at this moment, they are in battle," he said, "and they continue to make sacrifices on behalf of this nation each and every day."