COLORADO SPRINGS — The new top general at Fort Carson said that in nearly 30 years in the Army, he has come to prioritize “continuing to learn at every level.”
“People sometimes think as you continue through your career that you’ve mastered it all and you need to stop learning, but I can tell you, it only gets more important to learn as you rise in responsibility and rank in our Army,” the new boss, Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane, said after a ceremony Friday in which command of the post and its 4th Infantry Division was handed off to him.
The outgoing commanding general, Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, assumed the position in August 2017.
“So, I look forward to learning from the soldiers, airmen and civilians that were on this field today and back in the stands, and working with the community to help make things better for our families and soldiers here on base,” McFarlane said.
Hundreds of people gathered on the cool, sunny fall morning for the ceremony on the post’s Founder’s Field.
“The 4th Infantry Division has a proud, battle-proven legacy that dates back almost 100 years, and the past two years have added to that legacy, sustaining a blistering pace of operations while sustaining readiness to respond across the spectrum of conflict,” said Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of Army Forces Command, during the ceremony.
“Throughout the past two years, we could not have asked for a better leader at the reigns of the 4th Infantry Division than Randy George — always up front, always leading by example.”
McFarlane, though, “is one of our Army’s premier operational leaders,” Garrett said. “He is a remarkable officer with incredible experiences, including his most recent duty as a senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense.”
McFarlane is from Burke, Va., and was commissioned an infantry officer in 1992, the post says. He and his wife of 26 years, Kelly, have two children, ages 18 and 21.
George reflected on his time at Fort Carson and welcomed McFarlane to the post.
“Today, I’m finishing my fourth assignment at Fort Carson — so yes, my assignment officer has been very, very good to me,” George said, eliciting laughs from the crowd. He and his wife of 30 years, Patty, have two adult children. “ ... Yes, we’ll miss the scenery and Colorado adventures, but Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division are special to us and feel like home to us because of the people.”
The post’s soldiers heeded his challenge to “take the initiative and improve your units without being told,” he said.
“Thank you for exceeding my expectations and changing the culture in this division for the better for all those who will come after us.”