With a huge picture of his late father displayed nearby, the commander of the U.S. Armor School at Fort Benning was promoted from colonel to brigadier general Friday at the Benning Conference Center.
“I feel very honored to having been selected for brigadier general, and more importantly, I feel honored that I can be promoted here at Fort Benning, the new home of the United States Army Armor force,” Brig. Gen. Ted Martin said. “I’m very excited.”
Martin, 50, said his promotion in the frocking ceremony exceeded all his aspirations since starting his military career almost 28 years ago. He was the last cadet in his 1983 class of 117 at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to land an assignment with an armor unit.
“Here he is now the chief of armor,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
A star was pinned on each shoulder by his mother, Joan, wife, Stephanie, and Brown in front of a standing room crowd at the center. Martin is allowed to wear the star but must wait for a vacancy because only a certain number of generals may serve in the position.
In the front of the conference center was a picture of Army Lt. Col. Ephraim Martin, who died in 1989.
Brown spoke about how Martin’s father served in the Korean War and flew a helicopter in the Vietnam War. With symptoms from the toxic chemical Agent Orange, his father developed a severe form of cancer and retired in 1969.
Although he was given only six months to live, the elder Martin battled the disease for 20 years.
“My aspirations when I joined the military, to be honest with you, I wanted to be just like my dad,” Martin said.
In addition to his father, Martin has three brothers who went to West Point and also joined the military. Two have retired as career officers.
“I’m very humbled that I was selected to this promotion and they are here to witness it,” Martin said of his military brothers Ephraim Jr., Paul and Andy. “I feel compared to their services, I’m not deserving of the honor. I’m very glad things turned out the way they did.”
Fort Benning will have more general officers on post as result of the Base Realignment and Closure. Martin is leading the effort to move the Armor School from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Benning, creating the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The move is expected to be complete by Sept. 15.
Martin’s promotion pushes the total to three generals in command positions on post. He joins Brig. Gen. Bryan Owens, commander of the Infantry School, and Brown, the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, former Benning commander Carmen Cavezza and former Mayor Bob Poydasheff were in attendance at the ceremony.