FORT SILL, Okla. -- A retired field artilleryman returned to Fort Sill as the new Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill deputy to the commanding general. Although former Army colonel Joe Gallagher was never permanently assigned here, during 27 years as an FA officer he attended numerous training events at Fort Sill beginning in 1982, at the officer basic course.

The Lawton-Fort Sill community welcomed back Gallagher, and his wife, Luanne, during a reveille ceremony Jan. 31 outside McNair Hall.

"This is a dream come true. Never in a million years did I think that I'd come back here and serve Fort Sill," said Gallagher, who was most recently the Training and Doctrine Command deputy chief of staff for G3/5 plans and operations at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. "To come back and work for the CG, work for the community -- what a great opportunity."

Gallagher said his father, Robert, attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill. He later attended officer candidate school here, and went to Fort Bliss, Texas, to become an Air Defense Artillery officer.

"So I think we're trying to cover both sides of the house," said Gallagher, who fills a Senior Executive Service 5 position. Gallagher added his father retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army Reserve with 22 years of service.

As deputy to Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, FCoE and Fort Sill commanding general, Gallagher said he will assist him with all his initiatives and ongoing work.

This includes working with the Soldiers, DA civilians and contractors on post as well the Army's other centers of excellence and TRADOC. He will also be the director of the Capability Development Integration Directorate, which does futures work for the FA and ADA.

Gallagher's first work day was Jan. 17. He said his priority is to learn how Fort Sill works, its processes and then follow McDonald's direction.

"I spent three years as a senior executive at TRADOC as a staff officer ... and now I get to step into a leadership role and I find it really exciting," Gallagher said.

During the ceremony, McDonald said Gallagher is not only a great senior executive, but also a leader, who has taken on the hard jobs during his career.

"Joe (Gallagher) is exactly the person we need here," McDonald said.