FORT HOOD — During a ceremony at the III Corps Headquarters flagpole Friday, newly promoted Canadian Maj. Gen. Dean Milner bid farewell to Fort Hood and Central Texas.
Milner joined the Phantom Corps as deputy commander in August 2011 through a 15-year-old partnership with the Canadian army. He will be the last general officer to participate in the program.
“As a Canadian, the experience acquired here couldn’t be done by any other avenue,” Milner said. “I was entrusted to help lead a force larger than the Canadian army. ... It was great responsibility and a real honor.”
Two of the previous Canadian general officers to serve at Fort Hood have gone on to be the joint chief of staff, and another, Lt. Gen. Peter Devlin, is the current commander of the Canadian army.
“There’s a little bit of pressure on Dean now to perform,” joked Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, who described Milner as “contagiously optimistic.”
“He’s got big shoes to fill, and I have no doubt Dean will be a future chief of staff of Canadian armed forces,” he said.
Upon leaving Fort Hood, Milner will settle his wife into Kingston, a Canadian city in eastern Ontario, then head to Kabul, Afghanistan, to serve as the deputy commander of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, which will fall under the leadership of III Corps.
“There’s no one I’d rather have as a battle buddy than Dean Milner,” Milley said.
Saying goodbye to Fort Hood was bittersweet, Milner said.
“There is no place better than Fort Hood, and I’m a competitive son of a gun,” Milner said. “I’ve never seen a post that has the capabilities to support soldiers like this one does.”
During the ceremony, Milner was awarded the Legion of Merit, and his wife, Katrin Milner, received the Commander’s Award for Public Service.
Even though Milner will be the final Canadian general officer to serve at Fort Hood, the partnership between Fort Hood and Canada won’t end. The 1st Cavalry Division will host Canadian Col. Mark Misener to serve as the plans officer.
“I have no doubt the army has intentions of maintaining and continuing that relationship,” Milner said.
From his two years in Texas, he said he will bring with him memories of visiting soldiers in the training grounds and lifelong friendships.
“It’s been a real honor, and there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll be back.”
Contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.