Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.
Looking out into the crowd with a newly pinned star on his chest, Brig. Gen. Scott Spellmon said the last time so many family members attended a promotion ceremony was when he pinned second lieutenant.
The newly promoted one-star general spoke mostly of family as he received his promotion Friday outside the headquarters of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, where Spellmon has served as commander since June.
“Thank you for all the sacrifice you all have made that makes days like this possible,” said the husband and father of three.
Maj. Gen. Bryan Watson, vice director of the joint staff in Virginia, hosted the ceremony. He said families like the Spellmons are the real reason leaders get to these crossroads.
“In our world, patches matter. It really defines for us along our journey, the weigh points we’ve had,” Watson said. “They become part of your DNA as you grow in the Army.”
Spellmon’s first platoon sergeant after commissioning at West Point in 1986, retired Master Sgt. Fred Jett of Killeen, was also in the audience.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘I can’t believe they’re promoting you,’” Spellmon said of calling Jett to invite him to the ceremony. He laughed and added, “It’s always good to feel young like a second lieutenant again.”
The two worked together for about three years in the 8th Engineer Battalion, then part of 1st Cavalry Division, and just clicked together as a good team, Jett said.
“It was absolutely a privilege for me to work with him. We both grew together,” he said. “It’s an honor to see this occasion. He’s very deserving of the promotion.”
That was the last time Spellmon was stationed at Fort Hood. He recalls his wife, Sharise, cooking a Christmas meal for the single lieutenants in their on-post housing. It was their first of 17 homes.
Spellmon, an engineer, has served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as in Afghanistan. He commanded the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Polk, La.
“Hold on to everyone, because this is the dance of a lifetime,” Watson said. “I can’t wait to see how this chapter is written.”