Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, who commanded Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence several years ago, returned to Fort Benning today to officially retire.
“I started here in 1979 as a second lieutenant and I’ve been assigned and trained here as a first lieutenant, as a major, lieutenant colonel, colonel and I was a two-star commander here,” Ferriter said. “We’ve raised our kids in this area, so we feel very well connected to Columbus and Phenix City, so it’s only natural for us to come back here for our final event.”
Ferriter first came to Benning upon graduating from The Citadel in 1979 and last served here from 2009-2010 as MCoE and post commander. He said there are many things he will miss about military life, but the people are what he will miss most. “I’m going to miss that no matter how tough things get, you can absolutely trust the person on your left and on your right,” Ferriter said. “You cannot pay a soldier enough to for what a soldier does, and you certainly can’t pay a soldier enough for what that soldier’s family goes through.”
The Ferriter family is and has long been heavily invested in the Army. The son of a Second World War Army colonel, Ferriter has one son who is a major, one who is a captain and a daughter who is not only a retired Army captain, but is married to an active duty captain.
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Ferriter served with the 75th Ranger Regiment from 1986-89, and commanded the 3rd Batallion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 1996-98. He commanded the 2nd Batallion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and later the 11th Infantry Regiment. He returned to Fort Benning in 2009 as post commandant and commander of the Infantry School. That title changed to commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence the next year when the Armor School arrived.
He recently relinquished command of the Installation Management Command at the Pentagon.
His combat tours include Somalia and Iraq.
Ferriter’s retirement ceremony, attended by several hundred in front of the McGinnis-Wickam Hall featured performances by the MCoE Band, a cannon salute, performance by the Silver Wings precision paratroopers and speeches by Gen. James Campbell, Army Vice-Chief of Staff and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, who presented Ferriter with a signed letter of thanks from President Obama.
Ferriter said he and his wife do not plan to retire to Columbus, at least not immediately, but he has made no concrete plans.
“So many great friends and colleagues have called me in the last few days and asked me (about his plans),” Ferriter said. “I’m a paratrooper and a Ranger, and I tell them, ‘I’m on the plane, have my chute on, I’m hooked up and the door’s open. I’m going out it in the morning and all I know is I’m going to hit the Earth, because you never miss. But where it takes me after that, you just don’t know.”