Third Army promotes new general Friday in Sumter

Described as ‘servant leader,’ Morrissey extends credit to others, including family

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 2/6/18

A distinguished leader and a special man was promoted to general status on Friday at U.S. Army Central, his commanding general said.

Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, three-star commanding general of U.S. Army Central - commonly referred to as USARCENT …

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Third Army promotes new general Friday in Sumter

Described as ‘servant leader,’ Morrissey extends credit to others, including family

From left, Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett looks on Friday as Lisa Obermire, sister of Brig. Gen. Mike Morrissey, and Cindy Morrissey, his wife, place the brigadier general rank on Morrissey's jacket at U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base.
From left, Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett looks on Friday as Lisa Obermire, sister of Brig. Gen. Mike Morrissey, and Cindy Morrissey, his wife, place the brigadier general rank on Morrissey's jacket at U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base.
STAFF SGT. CHRISTAL CRAWFORD / U.S. ARMY
Posted

A distinguished leader and a special man was promoted to general status on Friday at U.S. Army Central, his commanding general said.

Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, three-star commanding general of U.S. Army Central - commonly referred to as USARCENT or Third Army - made those remarks of Col. Mike Morrissey at a promotion ceremony outside Patton Hall at division headquarters on Shaw Air Force Base on Friday.

With the promotion to brigadier general, Morrissey received a single silver star on each shoulder.

"It's a great day for our Army, a great day for Third Army, and it's a special day for the friends and the family of Mike and [his wife] Cindy Morrissey," Garrett said.

As director of operations at USARCENT and now brigadier general, Morrissey will serve as deputy commander to Garrett on all aspects of the command's operations and day-to-day missions, according to Master Sgt. Stephanie Carl of USARCENT Public Affairs.

To put Morrissey's promotion into perspective, Garrett said less than 1 percent of Morrissey's commissioning year group from 1990 have been promoted to brigadier general.

Commissioned into the U.S. Army after college graduation, Morrissey began his career as an entry-level second lieutenant. According to Garrett, Morrissey has led soldiers in combat at various levels - from platoon to battalion to brigade - during his 27-year Army career. Garrett described him as a "servant leader."

With extensive experience in the Middle East, Morrissey served in Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From 2012-14, Morrissey commanded the Army's premier defense organization, the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Garrett said.

Given today's multipolar, military world, Garrett said it takes a person with special expertise in tactics and strategy to be a general, and Morrissey meets those qualifications.

"To be successful as a general officer, you have to be able to thrive in an environment that is rife with uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity," Garrett said. "And I will tell you, Mike is that guy."

After his wife, Cindy, and sister, Lisa Obermire, placed the one-star insignia brigadier general rank on his jacket, Morrissey was presented with a general officer's belt, pistol and flag.

In his remarks, Morrissey described himself in his early career as a "hard-headed major" and gave credit to the soldiers, troops, mentors and leaders he served with who helped mold him.

He also extended praise to his mother, who was in attendance, for instilling him and his sister with "incredible strength and resilience." Additionally, he praised his two sons - Tom and Matt - but Morrissey left his highest praise for his wife, who he described as his "best friend."

"She's my purpose, my motivation, my direction, my strength and then some," Morrissey said.

He also described her as having a "balanced heart" for everyone.

Sharing one example from early on in their marriage, Morrissey described a regular late night when he arrived home from his young battery command team in the middle of a deployment to Bosnia.

"So, I come home, and in Cindy's command voice, she grabs me by the face mask and says, 'Hey, what are we doing for these single soldiers and their families?'" Morrissey recalled. "And it's been that way wherever we've been stationed, regardless of rank or position. Her working behind the scenes taking care of troops and families."