Aug. 25, 2010

Batts promoted to major general 

By Cotton Puryear        
Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. —The commander of the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division was promoted to major general Aug. 24 at Fort Pickett. Celestine Batts “pinned” her husband, Frank E. Batts, Sr., with major general rank in front of a large group of family, officers and senior NCOs from the 29th and the Virginia Guard.


Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, readminsters the oath of office to the newly-promoted Maj. Gen. Frank E. Batts, Sr. Batts was promoted to major general in a ceremony held Aug. 24 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Va. Department of Military Affairs)

“They got it right when the promoted Frank Batts,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “I have known him for a long time, and he has the character and the traits I like in a leader: he cares about people, he is committed to excellence and you trust him.”

“I am totally in awe of the blessings and responsibilities that have been bestowed upon me,” Batts said. “It is not often that a Soldier has the opportunity to serve at the general officer level and rarer still to have the opportunity to serve as a major general in command of an historic and storied division like the 29th Infantry Division.”

Batts thanked his parents and his seven brothers and sisters, the educators who helped his academic career from first grade through his masters degree, the military role models who helped guide his Army career, and finally his family.

“My wife Celestine and I will celebrate our 33rd anniversary this December,” Batts said. “She and I had just started dating during my senior year when my commission ceremony was held. She accepted my invitation and pinned my first set of gold bars on in December 1976. One year later to that date, we were married and she and I and the military have been in sort of a love triangle ever since. She has not once complained, so my biggest thanks goes to her.”

Before taking command of the 29th, Batts served as the deputy commanding general for almost two years. He previously commanded the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment in Norfolk, Va., and the 54th Field Artillery Brigade in Virginia Beach.

Batts was commissioned through the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro on Dec. 17, 1976. He served in both the West Virginia and Tennessee Army National Guard before joining the Virginia Guard in 1985. 

He has served in command positions from battery through brigade level. In his last command assignment, Batts served as the commander of the 54th Field Artillery Brigade. When the 54th Brigade Headquarters was mobilized in February 2004, he served as mobile liaison team chief in Kabul, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom from May 2004 through April 2005.

When not serving with the Guard, Batts works as an electronics engineer at the NASA Langley Research Facility in Hampton, Va. His only time not serving in the Guard was a brief break in service when he pursued his master’s degree in electronic engineering in the early 1980s.

Additional information:

Official Biography - Maj. Gen. Batts

Batts takes command of 29th Infantry Division

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