By Maureen Rose, IMCOMJanuary 19, 2012
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2012) -- In a ceremony Wednesday at Fort Knox, the Accessions Command was officially discontinued.
Hosted by Gen. Robert Cone, commander of Training and Doctrine Command, the formal procedure served multiple purposes: the command's colors were cased to signify the inactivation of Accessions Command; Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley retired from active duty; and the senior command authority over Fort Knox transferred to Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, commander of the Cadet Command, formerly subordinate to Accessions Command.
"I'm honored to be here to close this chapter of Accessions Command and honor the accomplishments of Ben and Susan Freakley," said Cone. "We're fortunate to have partners in the community representatives here today. The community support here has been phenomenal, in spite of the numerous changes to Fort Knox. You make Fort Knox a great place to work and serve."
He explained how vital the Accessions Command mission was for the 10 years of its existence -- 10 years of recruiting for a nation at war.
"Accessions Command provided the Army with its most precious assets -- its Soldiers," he said. "The success we've had (as an Army) in Iraq and Afghanistan would not have been possible if not for the success of Accessions Command in recruiting quality Soldiers."
"The final chapter may be closed, but the mission will endure," Cone continued. "I'm counting on you -- U.S. Army Recruiting Command and Cadet Command, to continue with the same patience and energy. To leaders and Soldiers here at Accessions Command, you've done a magnificent job."
After a summary of Freakley's accomplishments and combat assignments, Cone told the retiring general, "You leave an incredible legacy in the imprint you've made on Soldiers, and that's the highest honor a leader can have."
Freakley acknowledged that his time in Accessions Command had been good in spite of the challenges. Accessions Command was responsible for bringing new recruits into the Army and because the conflict in Iraq expanded, the Army needed to grow rapidly.
"We took the Army message to races, rodeos, NASCAR, football games and any other crevice you can imagine to get the word to the public," he said laughing.
However, he explained, Accessions Command was successful, in part due to the Army Strong motto.
"We met the needs by recruiting talented young Soldiers," Freakley said. "In those ten years, we accessed 1.5 million Soldiers, officers and warrant officers."
Accessions Command is about the past, and today, the general said, is about the future. Many in the audience might be worried about the future, due to many changes on the horizon. But everything will be fine, he assured them.
Don't forget that Gen. George S. Patton wrote a furious letter to warn that removing horses and spurs from the cavalry would ruin the officer corps, Freakley said.
"I'm here to tell you, we're doing okay without (the horses)," he said.
He went on to explain that the Army can change anything but its values. The Army values -- loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage -- are its bedrock. Soldiers who demonstrate the Army values should be kept, trained, and developed.
He added that the Army's noncommissioned officer corps is unique to the American Army and it makes the Army what it is.
"Our NCOs must be trained and preserved if we are to remain Army strong," he said. "These combat-hardened NCOs are vital. Ensure they remain trained and ready."
Freakley reminded the audience that the Army is about training and helping people excel.
"We don't man equipment, we equip the man," he said.
In closing, the general thanked those in attendance for all their support.
"Our family has been blessed beyond imagination to serve in the Army," he said.
During the ceremony, awards were presented to Freakley as well as his wife, Susan. The Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to the general, and a Public Service Award from the secretary of the Army went to Susan Freakley for her years as a helpmate and Army volunteer.
"Selfless service has been the hallmark of her 35 years as an Army spouse," said Cone.
To conclude the ceremony, Freakley reminded the audience that while Fort Knox had been known as an armor installation for years, the leadership of Fort Knox had come full circle because Maj. Gen. McDonald is an artillery officer and Fort Knox was originally established to train artillery officers.
"Leadership is back in artillery hands," he said with smile.