NEWS | July 30, 2021

First Army Division West welcomes new III Corps deputy commanding general

By Capt. Steven L. Wesolowski First Army Division West

First Army Division West holds a welcome brief to Maj. Gen. Michael R. Keating, deputy commanding general for III Corps, at the Division West headquarters on July 22, 2021.

“It’s great to be here. I have been at Fort Hood for two months now, and I am interested in not only what First Army Division West does, but equally importantly, what we as a platform at III Corps headquarters can offer you [Division West] to execute your mission more effectively whenever you need any help at any time,” Keating stated to the Division West commanding general and staff.

Held with attendance by Division West’s local brigade command teams from 120th Infantry Brigade, 166th Aviation Brigade, as well as 5th Armored Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, the welcome brief introduced the British general to one of Fort Hood’s tenants responsible for mobilizing numerous Army National Guard and Army Reserve units called to deploy overseas. Topics discussed were mission statement, fiscal year requirements, resourcing, and an in-depth overview of North Fort Hood as part of a Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI) to deploying Army units, as well as Division West’s areas of responsibility for the MFGI at Fort Bliss.

As the fifth deputy commander for support from the United Kingdom, Keating has come to Fort Hood after last serving as the U.K. liaison for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Keating has a background in aviation, and has notably served in the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an award bestowed for meritorious service to the government in peace, as well as for gallantry in wartime.

Keating noted to the attending commands and staff, “I’ve got the privileged opportunity to support all units stationed here at Fort Hood. From a more personal perspective, I’ve set myself to be seen as an integral part of the team rather than as an exchange officer…so you have my word that I will do whatever I can to serve and support you. We are bound together in a common endeavor to protect our Nation, our freedoms, our Allies and Partners. In order to achieve those outcomes, I will continue to engage with you over the coming months and years.”

Maj. Gen. Richard F. Johnson was honored to treat Keating as a guest to Division West headquarters, and expressed his gratitude for the continuing partnership with III Corps leaders.

“We are happy to have Maj. Gen. Keating visit us and learn about our way forward as a division that serves and guides Compo 2 and 3 units to their mission readiness and training for overseas assignments,” said Johnson. “It’s a rare and special occasion to demonstrate our capabilities to a visiting general from our overseas allies, while also taking the time to share what we can do to work together to meet the resourcing needs and training goals for Army units mobilizing year-long at our MFGIs.”

Keating commented on his first impressions of First Army Division West.

“It was great to meet the team and learn more about the First Army Division West mission. I was immediately struck by the professionalism and commitment of Division West from Maj. Gen. Johnson down to the brigade leadership,” Keating remarked. “There is a real sense of the importance of the mission. Turning disparate groupings of personnel, who come from all corners of the Nation and all walks of life, into cohesive and capable fighting formations is no easy task. Add COVID to that problem set and the challenge is huge. But, Division West is doing it with notable success because of the competence and commitment by the teams presented.”

Keating further shared remarks on the sentimental value about reserve forces for a strong and readied U.S. military.

“In today’s world, if there are any broken or weakened seams in the fabric of our One Army concept, the enemy will attempt to exploit that at their advantage and our disadvantage,” said Keating. “Our role, across all components of the Total Force, is to create an impenetrable shield against our adversaries, through which we strike at a time and place of our choosing. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve are a vital part of this shield, and that’s why managing talent and resourcing are crucial to having the best people deliver the most effective output. I look forward to observing and supporting how First Army Division West reinforces that shield and delivers combat power.”

The welcome brief concluded with Keating’s expressed interest to further explore North Fort Hood’s area of operations, as well as its aviation training grounds after noting his years of expertise in U.K.’s military aviation and partnership with U.S. military service.