FORT KNOX, Ky. –
After more than 42 years of service and six commanding positions under his belt, 84th Training Command's Maj. Gen. Steven W. Ainsworth, of Brandon, Mississippi, was honored Aug. 22, 2020, with two back-to-back ceremonies.
The ceremonies—a relinquishment of command and retirement—were live streamed on Facebook from Waybur Theater here since in-person attendance was limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve, Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper, presided over the ceremonies.
Brig. Gen. Edward H. Merrigan, the deputy commanding general of the 84th, temporarily assumed command until Ainsworth's successor is officially appointed at a later date.
Ainsworth comes from a small town upbringing.
"I grew up mainly on a farm, and it helped me to learn to appreciate the simple things and nature," Ainsworth said.
At an early age, he endured the death of his mother, saying he appreciated the support of his family afterward.
"My grandmother and grandfather and aunt and uncle helped me when I was younger,” he said.
He said his sibling was also a big supporter.
"I owe a lot of my success to my brother," Ainsworth said of his brother, retired Col. Jim Ainsworth.
Ainsworth holds a Bachelor of Science (with honors) and a Master of Business Administration (with honors) from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also holds a Graduate Degree in Banking from Louisiana State University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
After serving five years as an enlisted Soldier, Ainsworth received his commission as a distinguished military graduate through the Reserve Officer Training Corps from the University of Southern Mississippi in May 1993.
In 2004, he deployed overseas and served as the chief of staff for the 377th Theater Sustainment Command in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His most recent achievements are with the 84th Training Command, where he brought six training divisions to operate as three. This was in preparation for a future transformation of the command to merge the existing divisions and activate a fourth division.
Ainsworth's awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.
Following the relinquishment of command ceremony and a 15-minute intermission, Ainsworth was recognized with a retirement ceremony and presented a certificate of appreciation from President Donald Trump, as well as an American flag for his distinguished military service.
When asked about leadership, Ainsworth said: "I measure leaders by character, competence and commitment, and if they treat people with fairness, dignity and respect during all situations."
He continued: "I’ve been blessed to have people that supported me through the various commands. We owe the success we had to their dedication and efforts."
About Susanne, his wife, he said: "She has been a good supporter of the military and my military service. My wife has been the most consistent stable supporter of my military career that anyone could ask."
"Command is not about the commander, it is about the command and I have tried to live that every day," he said. "I am totally humbled at having the privilege of command in the best country and the finest military in the history of the world."