III Corps and Fort Hood held a farewell ceremony for British Maj. Gen. Felix G. Gedney, the III Corps deputy commanding general for support, on April 3.
Gedney joined III Corps in June 2017 from the U.K.’s Army Headquarters. He served as the III Corps deputy commander for strategy and support III Corps and Combined Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve during its deployment to Iraq.
“We exploit seams and gaps, we seize the initiative, and strike where it is unexpected. We are decisive and we communicate well, we take personal responsibility and we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” said Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, II, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood. “Today, we bid farewell to one of our leaders who has epitomized these qualities and strengthened the alliance between two great nations.”
Funk said the bond between the United States and the United Kingdom was rooted in the two country’s partnership during the two world wars.
“These ties and our common values brought about an unparalleled military partnership,” Funk said. “A partnership that allows us to fight side-by-side around the world in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.”
Funk said it was a privilege to serve with and go to war with Gedney.
“Felix is a seasoned leader and a warrior with extensive service in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said. “His combat experience, training, and the breadth of great assignments throughout his career, made him a priceless resource to me and to our team.”
This wasn’t the first time Gedney and Funk served together. The two generals previously served together in the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, also known as the “Big Red One”. Gedney was the first British soldier to serve in the 1st Infantry Division.
“We were (deputy commanding generals) together in the ‘Big Red One’ and then he was the DCG here while I was the commanding general so, he is a ‘Phantom Warrior’ through and through,” Funk said.
Gedney said it was difficult to express how much of an honor it was to have a farewell ceremony.
“Polly and I leave III Corps and Central Texas within a month’s time with a mixture of happiness and sadness,” Gedney said. “Happiness to be heading back to the U.K. and to have the family on the same continent, and sadness to be leaving this amazing community that we have enjoyed being a part of.”
Gedney thanked Funk for his trust, friendship and leadership, and thanked his wife and children for managing the domestic challenges Army life had presented them during the last few years.
Gedney said during his tenure with III Corps he was most proud of what the corps accomplished during the deployment.
“I’m pretty proud of what we did on the deployment,” Gedney said. “As a corps headquarters, I think we made a significant difference to defeating ISIS.
He said he believed that the work of the Army, certainly this corps, over the past two years has indeed been a noble cause.
“We have brought hope to many people,” Gedney said. “We certainly brought fear to those who seek to murder, destabilize and terrorize. I feel very privileged to have played a small part in the great team that brought this hope and fear, and I’m very proud to call myself a Phantom Warrior.”
Gedney was awarded a Legion of Merit for his service as the corps deputy commanding general.
“Polly and I don’t underestimate the value of these awards and just how incredibly privileged we are as British citizens to receive awards from the United States, so thank you very much,” Gedney said.
Funk presented Gedney’s wife Polly a Yellow Rose of Texas award signed by the governor of Texas.
“We are going to take the opportunity to say thank you from the corps staff and the corps just to say how much we appreciate your enthusiasm and energy, your compassion for soldiers and their families,” Funk said.
The Yellow Rose of Texas award is presented to Texas women in recognition of their exceptional voluntary service to their communities.
“A year ago, when we were living back in the U.K. and all our stuff had been shipped, and I knew I was going to be without my children and that Felix was going to be away for 13 months, I never imagined how fulfilling living here would be and how many friends I’ve made, so thank you,” Polly said.
Gedney’s replacement as deputy commanding general for support at III Corps is British Army Maj. Gen. Jez Strickland.