FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Maj. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center — Training, thanked family, friends and fellow Soldiers for helping her attain a new rank.
“This honor really belong to all of the people I have served with who assisted me along the way and who have developed me into the leader I am today,” said Gervais at her June 9 promotion ceremony.
In particular, she thanked Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, the acting director of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center, who officiated the promotion ceremony.
Dyess told a story about Gervais who wanted to enter as an Army physical therapist, but instead was assigned to be a chemical officer.
Later Gervais expanded on the story by relating how she handed her chemical officer assignment letter to her father, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert J. Rea, who was an Army and Air Force veteran.
“I told him there must be some kind of mistake,” she said. “He said, ‘There is no mistake … You failed to read the fine print … which states you serve at the pleasure of the people of the United States and the Army, and the Army needs you to be a chemical officer.'”
She recalled her father saying, “You need to get out there and be the best chemical officer you can.” He added, “And don’t get fired.”
Gervais went on to be the commandant of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Last year, she left that position to lead the Combined Arms Center — Training, or CAC-T.
“CAC-T is a phenomenal organization with a great mission and even greater people,” she said. “I know I am extremely blessed to serve as the DCG.”
CAC-T fields training systems, delivers leader training and sustains training capabilities to support Army institutional and operational training of Soldiers, leaders, and units to successfully execute Unified Land Operations in complex, ambiguous environments.