Combs promoted to brigadier general in earlier same-day ceremony in LHA Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Story and photo by Amy Newcomb
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Col. Peggy Combs was promoted to Brigadier General at Lincoln Hall prior to assuming the commandancy of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School Sept. 7.

“What a tremendous blessing this is — for the Combs Family, but more importantly for our regiment. Being here today at Fort Leonard Wood is a very special blessing for our Family, because this is our home,” Combs said. “We are just happy and excited to be back home with all of you and these fine three regiments that are all here and training so hard at Fort Leonard Wood — there isn’t a better place to be promoted.”

Maj. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, Department of the Army’s Program, Analysis and Evaluation director, was the ceremonial host for Combs promotion.
Jack and Pat Huther place shoulder boards on their daughter, Brig. Gen. Peggy Combs, as she is promoted from colonel to brigader general during a ceremony Friday in Lincoln Hall Auditorium. Looking on is Brig. Gen. Combs’ husband, Brad.  In a ceremony in MSCoE Plaza that followed, Combs took over as the commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear School.

“In 1756, George Washington in an address to the officers in the Virginia regiment said, ‘remember it is the actions and not the commission that makes the officer and there is more expected of him than the title.’ Today ladies and gentlemen, we recognize and promote an officer — Peggy Combs, by her actions, has proven herself to be an officer of extraordinary skill, talent and character to the degree that the Army has seen fit to promote her to the rank of Brigadier General,” Spoehr said.

Spoehr told those in attendance that this promotion was a major milestone for Combs.

“By law, there can only be 302 Army general officers, active, on-duty, at any given time. Less than one-half of one percent of Army commissioned officers will ever serve as a general officer, and today, Peggy Combs becomes one of those 302,” Spoehr said.
“If you do not know Peggy, you might wonder how was she selected? I’ve known Peggy for ten years and by reputation well before that and for me at least, in my opinion, it comes down to three basic things: unwavering commitment to values and integrity; a rich and challenging career, which as you know, challenge builds character; and finally it doesn’t hurt if you are truly passionate about what you do and in Peggy’s case that is Soldiering and the Army,” Spoehr added.

Combs agreed saying, “For me, Soldiering is truly an affair of the heart. It really is about a love of service, a love of our country and the respect and love for our brothers- and sisters-in-arms that serve with the same heart of service and commitment.”

During the promotion ceremony, Combs’ husband, Brad, and Spoehr pinned the rank of Brigadier General onto the shoulder boards of her Army Service Uniform jacket and her parents, Pat and Jack Huther, placed her shoulder boards on the epaulets of her blouse while the promotion orders were published.

After Brigadier General rank was pinned on Combs, Spoehr administered the ‘Oath of Office’ to her. This oath provides enduring guidance for military officers with the first official oath of office, which was established for U.S. military officers under the constitution on June 1, 1789.

After Combs took the ‘Oath of Office,’ the herald of ruffles and flourishes could be heard through the auditorium. In 1776, the Congressional Army authorized a fife and drum unit to give two ruffles to a Major General and one to a Brigadier General.

After the ‘Oath of Office,’ the 399th Army Band played ruffles and flourishes, which can be traced back to the late 1600’s and in 1776 was authorized by the Congressional Army to give one ruffle to a Brigadier General. Following ruffles and flourishes, the General Officer Flag was unrolled and placed in a stand for Combs.

At the close of the ceremony, Combs’ three children, Erica, Chris, and Brandon presented her with the General Officer Belt — worn by all general officers when carrying side arms, except when actually going into combat; the General Officer Pistol — a special issue of the Army’s standard service revolver, which can be purchased or returned when the general officer retires from active duty; and the Army beret with Combs’ rank of Brigadier General.

“I am humbled, blessed and honored to accept this promotion this morning on behalf of the regiment so I can continue to serve our Soldiers and our great nation,” Combs said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 September 2012 )