Originally created 06/03/04

Earning her stars



After more than a year of waiting, Fort Gordon's first female commander received her second star Wednesday.

A deliriously happy Maj. Gen. Janet Hicks was promoted at ceremonies in front of Signal Towers on post.

"Oh, what a day," Maj. Gen. Hicks said during a reception honoring her. "It's so exciting."

On her right shoulder, Gen. Kevin Byrnes pinned one star, as her 13-year-old daughter, Jennifer, pinned another on the left.

Gen. Byrnes, the head of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, based in Virginia, said Fort Gordon's role as the head of the Signal Corps represents the future of the Army as the military restructures itself.

"And that all starts here," he said. "And it's under the great leadership of Jan Hicks."

Soldiers lowered a red single-star flag and raised a new two-star banner in the courtyard, showing that a major general is in command at the post.

Maj. Gen. Hicks' position as commander of Fort Gordon and the Army's Signal Center is meant for a two-star general. Maj. Gen. Hicks, who first joined the Army in 1975, has commanded Fort Gordon since August 2002.

In attendance were local government officials; Brig. Gen. Gregory Premo, Maj. Gen. Hicks' second-in-command; and Brig. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the head of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

A line of hundreds of well-wishers stood for more than an hour to congratulate the new major general on her official promotion.

The post's former commander, retired Maj. Gen. Michael Ackerman, was one of those.

"It's terrific," said Mr. Ackerman, who rose through the ranks after his tenure at Fort Gordon to become inspector general of the Army.

"It is just another example of how far we've come in the Army," he said, noting the large number of women now in positions of responsibility in the Army and at Fort Gordon.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.