SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –
Rising through the ranks and leadership positions to become a general officer is a lofty and difficult achievement that fewer than one percent of military members will ever reach, but Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Doug Cherry, deputy commanding general, 76th Division (Operational Response) did just that here Jan. 6, when he was officially promoted from colonel to brigadier general in front of more than 200 family members, friends and fellow Soldiers at the picturesque state capitol rotunda.
Hosting the historic ceremony was Army Reserve Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper Jr., commanding general, 76th Division (OR). “This is truly a great day as we recognize a very, very deserving leader,” said Roper. “Doug has been an amazing leader. He became a general officer not only by effort and hard work, but also by the mentoring and development of senior leaders and noncommissioned officers who have taken the time to invest in him over the course of his career.”
Echoing Roper’s remarks was Col. (retired) Stewart Brown, the officiant of the ceremony. “This is a really big deal,” he said. “I can’t even tell you how big of a deal this is. Doug has done a lot to get here. He has served the Army since 1983. He served in a lot of places and has succeeded in almost everything he has done. He has stood out and has worked with and above his peers. He has managed subordinates, peers and his superiors.”
Brown also spoke about the challenges ahead for Cherry. “The responsibilities of today’s general officers are more complex, more multi-faceted and more complicated than they’ve ever been before,” he said. “To succeed, one has to be more thoughtful, more aware, more informed and more equipped than ever before to operate in these perilous times. I think Doug is the right man for the job.”
After Brown’s remarks, the official promotion orders were read, and Brown along with members of Cherry’s family came forward to place the new brigadier general officer rank onto his uniform. His father, Lt. Col. (retired) Don Cherry and his mother Helen, along with his wife Katie and his son Michael, each assisted in putting the single star onto his dress uniform jacket and his dress shirt.
The next order of business was the ceremonial uncasing of the brigadier general officer flag, then Cherry was presented with a ceremonial general officer belt by his sister Karen Larson and her husband Phil. The belt has a long history for officers dating from World War II when their belts were used to carry sabers.
After receiving the belt, Col. (retired) Steve Garrison presented Cherry with a general officer’s Model M9 pistol. Tradition holds that the pistol is loaned to the general officer until retirement, when they then have the option to return or purchase it.
The newly promoted general officer then re-affirmed his commitment to the nation by retaking the oath of office, administered by Brown.
Prior to the conclusion of the ceremony, Cherry took a few minutes to address the audience. “What got me here today was a tremendous number of great people,” he said. “In the early years that was my family who set many examples that I still strive to emulate today. My parents gave me a love of travel, learning and exploring and they set examples for me of balancing life and work, exercise and relaxation. They taught me how to tackle challenges with diligence and a smile. These are lessons that continue to serve me well today.”
Cherry also spoke about the numerous mentors who had helped him through different times of his life and distinguished career, putting him on the path to success.
“My answer to how did I get here, really is no secret,” he said. “It’s about being a part of something greater than myself, being willing to learn from anyone, it’s about cultivating relationships and about being more concerned about the quality of what I’m doing today more than what I might do tomorrow. I challenge each of you here today to do the same.”
Cherry concluded the ceremony with a few words of sincere gratitude. “I want to thank everyone so much for coming today,” he said. “This means a lot to me and my family. Thank you very much.”