March 24, 2005
Courtesy RCAG-South Public Affairs Office
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - Lt. Col. Tom Wilkinson, a Virginia Guardsman and senior mentor for the 1st Brigade, 205th Corps Embedded Training Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan was promoted to full colonel by Gen. Richard B. Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Mar. 15.
Wilkinson recently arrived from his mobilization station of Fort Hood, TX and is assigned to the Regional Command Advisory Group South. The promotion ceremony was a surprise to the officer who was led to believe he was going to Kabul to be promoted by the TF Phoenix commander, Brig. Gen. Richard B. Moorehead.
The cat was sprung from the bag on Mar. 14, when Wilkinson was told that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was going to be in Kabul and planned to do the promotion. After a 12-hour drive from Kandahar to Kabul, the wait began for the ceremony.
Myers arrived in the Camp Phoenix gym to a crowd of about 200 U.S. Soldiers. The Soldiers were there to meet the general and observe the promotion, an award presentation and the re-enlistment of 29 Indiana Army National Guard soldiers.
“This is a great day,” Myers told Wilkinson as he ripped the Lt. Col. rank from his uniform. “It is always an honor and pleasure to promote deserving officers,” he told the crowd. “All of you should be very proud of the job you are doing here.”
Myers then promoted Lt. Col. Brian Harris, an Alabama Guardsman to Colonel, presented an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device to an Indiana medic and re-enlisted the 29 soldiers. He then took question from the crowd and mingled with the soldiers.
“This is a great honor and opportunity for me to serve Commonwealth and country,” said Wilkinson. “I wish my dad was still alive to have seen it, and my family could have been here but I know they are with me in spirit. What a once in a life-time opportunity to get promoted by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I am truly honored.”