Story and photo by Sgt. William Smith
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
The deputy commanding general for support, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by the Army Chief of Staff, in a June 27 ceremony at Founders Field.
Brig. Gen. John “J.T.” Thomson III has been serving as the deputy commander since his arrival at Fort Carson in April.
“It is my honor to participate in this (promotion) ceremony,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. “Every time I come to Fort Carson, it is a great day. I get the chance to re-associate myself with the finest division in the Army, the 4th Infantry Division.”
Prior to coming to Fort Carson, Thomson worked directly for Odierno as the director of the chief’s coordination group.
“Thomson has had certain traits since being commissioned into the Army: competence, character and commitment,” Odierno said. “He has shown technical and tactical competence throughout his career. He has demonstrated the commitment not only to his Soldiers, but to our Families, his units and the Army. He has committed himself to making every unit or assignment better than when he got there. He committed himself to many deployments. In fact, when he was at the (Army) War College, he deployed for six months because I asked him to come over and support me while I was Multinational Force Iraq commander. That is his commitment to mission, to success, to our country and our Army.
“He has the character we expect of our leaders,” Odierno said. “The moral and ethical values to lead, to treat Soldiers with dignity and respect, to understand the importance of what it takes, and the responsibility … to lead, to lead America’s greatest assets, the American Soldier.”
Following his remarks, Odierno pinned the new rank on Thomson, who was joined in the reviewing area by his wife, Holly Thomson, and their two children, Tyler and Parker Thomson.
After receiving his star, Thomson was presented with two distinctive items: the first round fired by the salute battery at the ceremony and the general officer belt.
Unique to general officers, the general officer belt dates back to 1843, when then Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall decided that all generals needed a belt when carrying side arms, except in combat, said Odierno.
During Thomson’s 27 years as an Army officer, his assignments have included brigade commander, executive officer to the commanding general of Multinational Corps Iraq and adviser to the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I would like to thank all of you for celebrating in this special day for the Thomson Family,” Thomson said. “I stand here with a great deal of humility, because we all know that the Army profession is not about self.
“Every promotion pales in comparison to the 187 streamers on the Army flag. Those colors of courage represent campaigns that American Soldiers have fought for, bled for and died for since 1775. They are why we enjoy freedom and liberty today.”
In addition to promoting Thomson, Odierno had a discussion over breakfast with Fort Carson’s captains, toured the Joint Operation Center and visited with Fort Carson senior leaders.
Capt. Kelly Calway, commander, Headquarters and Headquaters Company, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., said it was an amazing experience to talk with the chief of staff of the Army.
“We asked questions from (the) Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (program) to the ongoing mission in Kuwait,” Calway said. “(Odierno) said that they analyzed the brigade organization, and they are going to increase it to three maneuver battalions at the brigade level and increase engineer presence. He also talked about how they are going to regionally align forces, with combatant commands, and you would be assigned to a certain theater and deploying to those theaters. It is going to play out over the next 10 years.
“It left me feeling that the Army is going in the right direction well into the future,” she said.