FORT GORDON, Ga. (Dec. 12, 2012) -- In the 152-year history of the Signal Corps Regiment, never has a member risen to the rank of four-star general.

Until this year.

During a Dec. 12 ceremony held at the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum by the Chief of Signal, Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general, inducted Gen. Dennis L. Via as a new distinguished member of the Signal Regiment for his accomplishments over the course of a career.

A capacity crowd of distinguished guests and well-wishers packed the museum for the induction ceremony. The event coincided with the Signal Corps General Officer and Senior Enlisted Advisor Conference, held on post Dec. 11-13. Many of the attendees had served with or been mentored by Via during their careers, and they filled the hall to see him be recognized.

Promoted Aug. 7, 2012, to his rank and current position and commanding general of the Army Material Command, Via keeps military forces equipped with the latest technology and fields new equipment to meet the needs of war fighters on the battlefield.

"(General) Via has the responsibility to make the acquisition processes run smoothly and efficiently by analyzing costs, establishing credible benchmarks, and helping us understand where our money goes," said Patterson. "In the age of shrinking fiscal resources, he has a huge task, coupled with the drawdown of troop strength and reduced funding. "

Via manages more than 70,000 employees and an annual budget $49 billion, while controlling $92 billion in contracts to support more than 1 million pieces of equipment.

"Thank you for the distinct honor of being named a distinguished member of the signal regiment," said Via. "I am deeply honored and proud to join the company of many distinguished members in the regiment."

Only 85 Signal Corps Soldiers have been appointed to the honor since the beginning of the regimental system in 1986. Renowned Signal Corps Soldiers in history prior to that date such as the founder, Brig. Gen. Albert J. Myer worth honoring were named as members.

"[He] has distinguished himself at every level of service," said Patterson during his introduction of the regiment's 86th member, "I can think no better qualified individual to lead our continuing quest, to bring to the force, the resources we need today, and in the future."