Col. Antonio Munera, U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School commandant and 30th chief of chemical, was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony held May 30 on Fort Leonard Wood’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza.
Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said the ceremony was very significant for the Army, the installation and the Munera family.
“The Army has to choose very wisely when making this elite selection, and yet, for the Army, Andy Munera was an easy pick,” Savre said. “At every rank and in every assignment he’s delivered, and his reputation is unmatched. In short, the Army has made the exact right choice, and Andy is exceptionally well qualified and prepared to take on this great responsibility. I have full confidence he’ll continue to serve our Army and our nation with great distinction, and I could not be happier to participate in this ceremony, to have him as a teammate here in the heart of America.”
Munera’s wife, Tacy, and mother, Barbara, pinned on his new rank followed by Savre replacing his field grade service cap with that of a general officer. His father, retired Lt. Col. Tony Munera and his uncle, retired Staff Sgt. Jose Munera unfurled his General Officer Flag during its presentation by Savre. His son, Justin, presented him with the General Officer Belt, and his son, Adam, presented him with the General Officer Pistol.
Following “Ruffles and Flourishes” and the Eleven Gun Salute, Munera said he was humbled and honored by the attendance.
“I’ve said this in speeches around here before — I’ve served in many posts around the country both large and small, and I mean this — there is no better place to come home to than to the support of this community here at Fort Leonard Wood,” he said. “Tacy and I can actually say that because we have left and come back and you have always welcomed us like we never left. For that, I thank you, and I look forward to the continued community support.”
Munera said he was surprised when the promotion list came out.
“Promotions are not about the individual, I’m just the lucky recipient of a star today,” he said. “I have only advanced this far because I stand on the shoulders of giants — those Soldiers, NCOs, officers and civilians who have supported me over the years and taken very ambiguous guidance and intent and marched to the sounds of the guns to complete the mission; the senior leaders, some who are in the crowd today, who saw something in a young chemical officer and invested their energy in my success.”
He said it was impossible for him not to succeed in the Army due to those supporting him along his career.
“I came from a traditional, functional military family. In fact, I’m a fourth generation Puerto Rican officer on my father’s side, and part of a long history of service dating back to the Civil War on my mothers,” Munera said. “Both my father, grandfathers on both sides and my uncles served in conflicts ranging from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. In fact my grandfather, father and uncle were all in Vietnam at one time.”
“I’ve been blessed with a traditional family who taught me at an early age what it means to serve and the value of hard work,” he added.
Savre said he’s sure this will not be the last ceremony Munera will participate in, adding he’s destined to wear multiple stars, in his opinion.
Munera finished by saying, “Even though I’m joining the general officer ranks, I will always only be Andy Munera, simple Dragon Soldier, competent, bold and on point for our nation.”
Staff Sgt. Kaleb Hawkins, noncommissioned officer in charge of the salute battery, then presented Munera with the first round fired from his first salute as a general officer.