Under cloudy skies and just a few feet from the “Iron Mike” statue, the commander of the U.S. Infantry School at Fort Benning was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony at McGinnis-Wickam Hall.
“I feel a lot of things today but I want to tell you I feel a lot of gratitude,” Brig. Gen. David B. Haight said minutes after his wife and three daughters pinned one star on each shoulder of his uniform. The promotion for Haight comes eight months after he took over the Infantry School at the Maneuver Center of Excellence on Aug. 3. As commander, he is in charge of all infantry training on post for non-commissioned officers and officers.
Haight was commissioned a lieutenant in 1986 as a distinguished military graduate of Brigham Young University. During his 27-year career, he has led soldiers in Operation Just Cause in Haiti, Operation Safe Haven in Panama, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Since taking over at the Infantry School, Haight has made the post the standard of excellence across 19 different courses, schools and programs, said post commander Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster.
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“He is a warrior with few peers in our generation or others,” Mcmaster quoted a comment from a soldier who served with Haight.
Haight followed in the footsteps of his father who retired as a lieutenant colonel, serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Three of his brothers served in the military and now his son, Spc. David Haight Jr. is a Ranger with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.
Haight didn’t forget many of the soldiers he served with but never returned home. Many in the crowd in front of McGinnis-Wickam Hall heard the jingle of dog tags as Haight said the soldiers were either killed in action or training while under his command.
“It goes without saying my gratitude to them and service to our nation and their supreme sacrifice,” Haight said.
The general praised the efforts of all the soldiers who helped him become a leader. “All showed me what right looks like when it comes to leading soldiers,” he said. “I have been fortunate to command thousands of soldiers, most in infantry and Ranger units.l”
As a newly promoted general, Haight was presented a belt and buckle, a flag with the single star and 9 mm Beretta pistol.
On Thursday night, the soon-to-be brigadier general thought the promotion would bring some excitement to his wife, Bonnie. While the two were in bed, he put his arms around her and asked a big question. “ Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that you know you would get to sleep with a brigadier general,” he asked? “She kissed me on the cheek and kind of patted my forehead and said dear you are not even in my wildest dreams.”