Maj. Gen. Robert Brown addresses 82 soldiers at reenlistment ceremony

If outgoing Fort Benning commander Maj. Gen. Robert Brown had to pick someone to lead the Maneuver Center of Excellence, he said Tuesday he would select Brig. Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr.

“If I had to go out and pick someone, given I have to leave, I would pick H.R. McMaster, a wonderful family, a tremendous guy,” Brown said after administering the oath to soldiers re-enlisting. “We are very lucky that he is coming in. We are very fortunate.”

It was announced last week McMaster will take over for Brown in June. Brown, who has been selected for his third star and promotion to lieutenant general, was reassigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to command I Corps.

“I’m very humble,” Brown said. “If nominations are approved and everything, I will do the best that I can. I’m going to leave here and they are going to have to throw me off post. I don’t want to leave.”

Brown said he served with McMaster as a brigade commander in Iraq in 2004-2005. “We worked very closely together,” he said. “We were right next to each other.”

The Benning commander said McMaster is smarter than he could ever imagine to be. He has a master’s and Ph.D in history from the University of North Carolina. He also published a book “Dereliction of Duty,” analyzing the policies of the Vietnam War.

Since arriving at Fort Benning in November 2010, Brown noted the strong ties between the community and the post despite issues that include training noise.

“Soldiers have to train and we do everything we can to limit that noise and inconvenience,” Brown said. “We are just very blessed here to have an amazing community.”

Tuesday, Brown participated as 82 soldiers re-enlisted in an afternoon ceremony on post.

At the ceremony, Sgt. Denise Lott said re-enlisting was an easy decision for a soldier who works as a dental technician.

“It’s a big deal,” said Lott, a native of Panama. “I’m proud to serve my country.”

Lott and 81 other soldiers stood in front of McGinnis-Wickam Hall Tuesday as they re-enlisted to continue serving in the military. A total of 113 soldiers signed up to re-enlist.

Lott, 32, said working at the clinic was a big factor in her decision to remain in the uniform.

“I actually enjoy it,” Lott said. “I like the fact that I work with regular troops. I work with brand new recruits.”

She hopes to make the military a career.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Wright agreed to another hitch in the Army even after five deployments, three to Afghanistan and two to Iraq.

“It’s a good job, so I’m going to keep doing it,” he said.

Wright said deployments haven’t been that bad during his 12 years of service.

“I joined the Army right out of high school,” he said. “It’s pretty well in the Army. Hopefully, I will keep going.”

Staff Sgt. Latrisha Maddox said the love of her job as a career counselor in the Armor School helped her reenlist after 14 years of service.

“I love my job,” Maddox said. “We are the ones who take care of re-enlistment.”

During her career, she has been deployed to Iraq four times since 2003 and once to Kuwait.

“The hardest is distance away from family,” said Maddox who has a daughter, 5-year-old Heaven.