News: McKean rises to the rank of general officer
Story by Sgt. Brandon Bednarek
FORT BLISS, Texas - In customary Army fashion, the sound of cannons brought about the close of business at Fort Bliss Tuesday, but the American flag was lowered to its tune for very different purpose than is commonly expected at the 1st Armored Division headquarters.
The colors of Old Glory were instead in retreat to honor the transformation from field-grade to general officer as Col. Scott McKean, deputy commanding general of operations, was ceremoniously promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
The appointment and promotion of McKean to the rank of general officer marks the first of its kind at the division since relocating to Fort Bliss in 2011 from Wiesbaden, Germany.
Gen. James D. Thurman, the former commanding general of United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces-Korea, attended the event to promote McKean and administer the Oath of Office.
“From the first moment I met him, I saw a soldier - I saw a leader,” said Thurman, who initially met McKean as a captain in 1996 at Fort Stewart, Ga.
“What I saw in this young captain was a confident and competent officer that was willing to study and be the best in his profession,” he said.
Over the years, the careers of both generals have often overlapped, with Thurman having the honor of promoting McKean to the rank of both lieutenant colonel and colonel.
In fact, prior to assuming responsibilities as the DCG-O in July, McKean was hand-selected by Thurman to serve as the executive officer for UNC/CFC/USF-K under his command.
“Scott has been one of these officers that takes whatever assignment he gets and does the very best”, said Thurman, who will retire next month after nearly 39 years of military service. “I am very proud to be able to stand up here today and watch us put a one-star on you.”
After receiving his general epaulets, Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of Fort Bliss and 1st AD, presented McKean with a custom 9mm sidearm and distinctive general officer belt – an Army tradition symbolizing the inauguration of a newly promoted brigadier general.
“The honor bestowed today represents the countless sacrifices made by Soldiers and families everyday,” said McKean, a native of San Jose, Calif.
“I am truly honored and thankful that you could be here for this ceremony,” he said of Thurman. “I pledge to serve everyday in the example that you have set and taught me.
McKean is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1990. As an armor officer, McKean has served in a variety of units and positions throughout his 23-year career, including command responsibility of the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team “Highlanders” during an Operation New Dawn deployment in 2011.