Staff Sgt. Joel Pena
10th Mountain Division Journalist
Soldiers, friends, Family and community members gathered Oct. 1 at the Commons to congratulate Brig. Gen. Carl A. Alex, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commanding general for support, on earning his first star.
Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, served as the officiating officer during the ceremony.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” Townsend said. “I’ll only pass one serious note to you today; we expect a lot from you as a general in our Army. Lead with your personal example every day and you’ll be a great general.”
“With this assignment, Carl will complete service with all five types of infantry that our Army has – air assault, airborne, mechanized, Ranger and now light infantry,” Townsend remarked. “What an incredible career.”
After a recount of Alex’s illustrious career and a round of applause, he was called front and center.
As a symbolic reminder of the civilian authority over the military and a fundamental principle of American democracy, Tony Keating, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, assisted by Alex’s sister-in-law Maria Sekurio, removed Alex’s Army service uniform coat, which has infantry shoulder boards, insignia and sleeve rank.
After that, Alex’s sister Karen and his brother Irvin removed the infantry epaulets from his shirt. Once promoted, Alex would put aside his infantry blue and don the color of the Army General Officer Corps, midnight blue.
Immediately after that, Alex’s wife Oleysa and his brother Roger pinned the new epaulets to his service shirt and helped him don his new ASU coat.
To conclude, Townsend and Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Merritt, 10th Mountain (LI) senior enlisted adviser, affixed brigadier general shoulder bars on Alex’s ASU.
A big smiled came across Alex’s face when he saw his 3-year-old son Charles march across the stage to present his dad with his new general officer’s hat, followed by his brother Paul with a new beret.
After the pinning of the new brigadier general and the uncasing of the general’s new one-star flag by Merritt and Command Sgt. Maj. Jose A. Castillo, 10th Sustainment Brigade senior enlisted adviser, Alex took center stage and spoke.
“Thank you for taking the time to be part of this ceremony,” Alex said. “I understand that I couldn’t possibly get through the work and service that I have done and is yet to be done without the peace of God – which surpasses all understanding – keeping my mind and my heart.
“I give a sincere and heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the pit crew – all of the Soldiers and staff – for without their hard work and support, this moment wouldn’t be possible,” Alex said.
“Thanks to the leaders, coaches and mentors, civilian or military peers, but especially to Maj. Gen. Townsend and Command Sgt. Maj. Merritt,” he added. “They were there when I was a second lieutenant signing into the 3rd Ranger Battalion, and they are here 24 years later, still leading, coaching and mentoring.”
After Alex’s comments and a round of applause, guests were invited to a reception to enjoy refreshments.