Big Red One' bids acting senior commander a fond farewell

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Story by SGT Takita Lawery on 07/05/2017
FORT RILEY, Kan. Friends, family, local community members and fellow Soldiers came to bid farewell to Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley acting senior commander, during a Victory with Honors Ceremony June 27 at the division's headquarters.

Frank, who initially served as the deputy commanding general, took on the responsibility of acting senior commander in October 2016 when the division headquarters was called forward to the Central Command area of operations.

"I am glad that responsibility fell on him," said British Maj. Gen. Douglas Chalmers, guest speaker and III Corps deputy commander for support. "Pat is no stranger to the trials and challenges faced by the Big Red One' during a period of high operations."

Frank, a big admirer of the 1st Inf. Div.'s history, said he was honored by having the opportunity to have served as the acting commander during the planning and executing phases in celebrating the Big Red One's 100th Anniversary.

"It's our history in our 100th year, we are all proud to celebrate the division's tremendous service to the nation the most storied division in the U.S. Army with 43 battle streamers reflecting the battlefield courage of generations of Big Red One Soldiers," Frank said.

This is not Frank's first time serving as a Big Red One Soldier. He previously commanded the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div. Frank said having the opportunity to come back to Fort Riley was an honor.

"It's a tough day personally to say good-bye to the 1st Infantry Division, my second tour here," Frank said. "I'd asked to come back to the Big Red One to serve here as a 1st Inf. Div. Soldier, so saying goodbye to Fort Riley and the 1st Inf. Div. Soldiers for a second time was a tough, tough act."

Having completed his second tour on Fort Riley, Frank paused for thought when asked what his most memorable moment was as a 1st Inf. Div. Soldier. He chose 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team's year-long train-up for deployment and the Danger Focus exercise as something he will remember most about his time as a Big Red One Soldier.

"It took the entire division's efforts to pull that off and I'm proud of the team effort," Frank said. "That's what it's all about."

At the closing of the ceremony, Frank shook hands with those in attendance and thanked them for wishing him a farewell.

"It's pretty humbling to have people from the local community come through the line today and attend the ceremony," Frank said. "It's a reflection of how much the Flint Hills community loves the 1st Inf. Div."

Frank will go on to serve as the deputy commanding general of the Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

"It's a bittersweet moment leaving Fort Riley for the second time," Frank said, "but I'm looking forward to going down to Cadet Command and getting involved in leader training for the next generation in the Army."

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