By Mrs Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)January 26, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general is now a major general -- Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter was promoted Jan. 18 in the Engineer Regimental Room at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex.
"I have been a combat engineer for 31 years," Yenter said. "This means a lot to me and my Family."
Maj. Gen. Merdith Temple, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acting chief of engineers and acting commander, presided over the ceremony. He said Yenter's strong moral foundation was the key to Yenter's successful career.
"I've known Mark and Lisa for quite a long time," Temple said. "Mark has a very strong Family. He also has an Army Family -- that's a pretty big Family, because he has been a lot of places and done a lot of great things. He has spent a lot of time away from his Family, but the reason why is able to do all of that is because of his strong Family and strong moral foundation."
Temple credited Yenter's father, Ken, with giving Yenter the base he needed to build his Army career.
"Ken has quite a distinguished career himself in the Army. He gave Mark the foundation he needed to get off on a good start in life, and that's extremely important," Temple said.
Yenter thanked his father for being a good role model.
"I learned about being an officer from my father, Retired Lt. Col. Ken Yenter. I grew up listening to brilliant observations and learned from his training," he said.
A grinning Ken Yenter said it made his day to be able to attend his son's promotion ceremony.
"This was the high point of my day for sure," Ken Yenter said. "From the first time I saw him, he was just a baby in my arms -- I smiled. I knew he was going to be special. It made me feel good just looking at him."
Maj. Gen. Yenter said it was an honor to have both his wife, Lisa and his father, Ken stand beside him, and pin his new stars to his shoulders.
"They have been there the whole time, before I even joined the Army," Maj. Gen. Yenter said. "It never occurred to me until I was about a junior in college that I was actually going to join the Army. I was dating Lisa at the time, so I went from having a ponytail to cutting all my hair off and going off to airborne school to become a paratrooper. Lisa was there through all of that, as well as my dad."
Maj. Gen. Yenter believes much of his success is due to the Soldiers he has been able to work with.
"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the work of a lot of great Soldiers. Soldiers volunteer their lives, spend way too much time away from their families and it isn't easy, but they have inspired me in peace time and in war time with their personal courage and their integrity and their selfless service," he said.
Maj. Gen. Yenter said he was lucky to have been a combat engineer for the last 31 years and promised to continue to give his all to the Army.
"Most of my career is in my rearview mirror. I have had the good fortune to do what I love -- I love being a Soldier," he said. "I will promise to you to do the same thing I expect of others -- all that is simply my best."
Yenter took command of the installation Sept. 23, 2011, and was nominated for appointment to the rank of major general July 2011.
Prior to coming to Fort Leonard Wood, Yenter served in Afghanistan, where he worked as the Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Trans-Atlantic Division.