- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley said the arrival of U.S. Army Cadet Command to Fort Knox from Fort Monroe, Va., is another historic moment in the Base Realignment and Closure Initiative ordered in 2005 and nearing completion.
Cadet Command uncased its colors during a formal ceremony at Brooks Field on a blustery Tuesday morning, welcoming a battle-hardened veteran to assume the role of command leader.
Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald was introduced Tuesday by Freakley, Fort Knox’s commanding general. McDonald humbly accepted the honor, thanking those in attendance and noting pride at standing before so many leaders, including three former commanders of U.S. Army Cadet Command.
Fresh off a tour of Iraq, McDonald packed his bags and moved from Baghdad while his wife, Connie, relocated to Fort Knox from Fort Hood, Texas.
The couple has been in the area for a week, McDonald said, and he described it as a smooth transition despite the strange circumstances.
McDonald assumes command from Col. (P) Barrye Price, who became interim commander after Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell stepped down in October.
Price, deputy commander of Cadet Command, said he views himself more as the support to “bridge the gap between two phenomenal leaders.”
In addition to a new commander, many staff directors in the command are new, Price said, but the mission of Cadet Command remains the same.
Likewise, the command produces the best trained cadets it ever has while adjusting and adapting to the changes and turbulence expected during a move.
“It’s an infusion of new blood,” Price said.
The transition is expected to be completed by June and a temporary headquarters has been established for Cadet Command while permanent facilities across from Brooks Field are renovated. Price said Cadet Command expects to move in by July.
Cadet Command was commissioned in April 1986 and manages operation of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, as well as the Junior ROTC program. In all, Cadet Command maintains 273 senior ROTC programs in colleges and universities throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa, according to the U.S. Army. More than 36,000 men and women are enrolled in the college ROTC program, which produces more than 60 percent of the second lieutenants in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve, according to the Army.
In addition, about 300,000 students are enrolled in JROTC in more than 1,680 high schools, according to the Army.
Freakley said he can think of no better warrior and trainer than McDonald to assume leadership of Cadet Command at a time of significant change.
McDonald, meanwhile, said his success within the Army was directly influenced by his experiences within the JROTC and ROTC programs and the leaders he met there.
By taking command, he added, it is a channel for him to express his gratitude for the examples set for him at an early age.
“I see this as a (way) to pay back,” he said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.