Col. Christopher P. Hughes, deputy commanding general – maneuver, 3rd Infantry Division, now is a brigadier general. Hughes was promoted Friday morning during a formal ceremony in Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden.
“He has done all the hard jobs, and he’s done an incredible job every time, but that’s not why he’s being promoted,” explained Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. “Christopher Hughes is being promoted to brigadier general because he has demonstrated the potential to lead our Army into the future.”
Abrams said many of Hughes’ friends had come from around the country to see the ceremony, including high school and college buddies. Abrams joked that many of Hughes friends and colleagues probably were there to see if it was really true that a small-town boy from Iowa could reach the rank of general.
Hughes later joked that his friends were there “to see if pigs can fly” or “to see Georgia’s first snow storm in August.” He thanked his friends and fellow officers who have helped him over the years, offering special thanks to his wife, Marguerite.
“Marguerite and I have been truly blessed,” Hughes said as he thanked everyone for their support and for attending the ceremony. “In my opinion — I’ve already learned to say that — in my opinion — the Army is the best institution in this country.”
He said what makes the Army different is that it allows a soldier the opportunity to succeed. He said the only obstacles he or she has to overcome are self-imposed limitations.
“In the Army, we don’t care where you’re from,” he said. “If you’re willing to give us your all, we will reciprocate.”
Although their daughter Ashley could not be there for Hughes’ promotion, his sons, 2nd Lt. Patrick Hughes and 2nd Lt. Michael Hughes, were not only there, they took part in the ceremony.
Both infantry officers like their father, Hughes’ older son, Patrick, presented his dad his general officer’s belt with holster, and Hughes’ newly commissioned younger son, Michael, presented his dad with his general officer’s 9mm Beretta.
The belt and pistol presentation were part of the promotion ceremony, which began with Hughes and Abrams standing at Marguerite Hughes’ side. Abrams then came around to face Hughes, removing his colonel rank from his uniform. His wife pinned a single black star on his uniform.
She then handed him a new beret, this one bearing a silver star, rather than an eagle. Abrams administered the oath as a general officer. A ceremonial flag presentation was then made. The promotion ceremony concluded with the presentation of an artillery shell.
Prior to his remarks, Hughes sent a flower bouquet and two ears of corn to his wife, signifying he was always willing to use both his ears to listen to her advice. His sons were given 3rd ID coins.
Hughes is a combat veteran whose awards include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab and Master Parachutist Badge. He will deploy later this month with the 3rd ID’s headquarters battalion as the Combined Joint Task Force-3 deputy commanding general-maneuver.