Douglas M. Gabram earned his first star in a ceremony promoting him from colonel to brigadier general Thursday afternoon at Cooper Field in front of family, friends and colleagues.
Gabram was promoted by Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“It’s an incredible day for the Army, 1st Cavalry Division and the Gabram family,” Allyn said, describing the promotion as an honor. Gabram is an exemplary model of the quiet professional, he said, and an officer of extraordinary courage.
Standing alongside his family, including his son, Connor, and his daughter, Sarah, his wife, Lori, replaced his rank patch and his mother, Shirley, replaced his Stetson as he was promoted.
Allyn then presented Gabram with the general officer belt.
In a speech that touched on numerous influences throughout Gabram’s 29-year career, he made certain to thank division commander Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi and III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, along with “numerous great commissioned officers, warrant officers, NCOs and soldiers.”
Gabram shared anecdotes of specific people who served as close colleagues over the years.
“Our nation is in the midst of one of its most fiscally challenged periods ... along with complex operating environments and increased threats,” Gabram said, but he assured the crowd the Army will prevail, thanks to Allyn’s “inspired and engaged leadership.”
Gabram credited Allyn with the conquering of “the scariest complex tactical and strategic issues in east Afghanistan that most would not believe.” You had to be there, he said.
“His leadership has been masterful,” Gabram said of Ierardi. “He has fostered a command climate of dignity and respect second to none.”
His words of thanks were woven among tales of his travels to countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
Nearer to home, Gabram thanked his battle buddies at the Great Place, the civilian workforce and the III Corps Command Teams for their professionalism and tenacious drive, which serve as his motivation, he said.
Gabram is a 1984 graduate of Bowling Green State University, and he earned a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.
His duty locations included several stints at Fort Hood, as well as Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Rucker, Ala., the Pentagon and Germany.
Some of Gabram’s decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star fifth award, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal sixth award, Air Medal with Valor and Air Medal with fifth award.
Friends, family and colleagues traveled as far as Pennsylvania, Missouri and Ohio to attend Thursday’s ceremony.
Gabram reserved the most special thanks — those intended for his family — for last.
“She is the example of elegance, selfless service and class,” he said of his wife of more than 27 years, giving her full credit for his successful career. As the ceremony drew to an end, smoke filled the air as 11 cannon rounds were fired and the Gabrams’ children uncased the one-star general officer flag.