Capt. Thomas Williams (right) is pinned by Lt. Col. Levon Cumpton (left) during a recent field training exercise for the 1-138th Infantry Regiment at Fort Leonard Wood. (Submitted Photo)
By Jennifer G. Archdekin
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - An impromptu promotion ceremony for a Missouri Army National Guardsman means he is one step closer to fulfilling his personal goal in the military.
While at a field training exercise at Fort Leonard Wood, Thomas Williams of Company D, 1-138th Infantry Regiment in Monett, was promoted to the rank of captain by Lt. Col. Levon Cumpton, the battalion commander.
When Williams joined the National Guard in 2007, the infantry was just beginning to stand up as a new unit. By the time he commissioned as an infantry officer in 2008 he was able to start off his career as an infantryman with the goal to be the first battalion commander who has completely grown up in the infantry.
Already the company commander in Monett, Williams said this promotion means he is that much closer.
"Now that I'm a captain I'm very happy with how far I've come and I hope to someday reach my goal and objective," said Williams. "It's an honor to have made it to where I am, in the amount of time I've been at it, and to be trusted with this amount of responsibility."
Williams makes his home in Joplin, but for the last year he worked fulltime with the battalion's headquarters in Kansas City filling in for a fellow deployed Soldier serving in Afghanistan.
"He stepped in and filled in for our training officer position when ours was deployed which was a huge benefit for us," said Sgt. Maj. Patrick Berendzen, operations sergeant major with the 1-138th. "He did a fantastic job of it."
The example Williams sets for his Soldiers also impressed Cumpton.
"As a commander, promoting Soldiers is one of the most fun things I do," said Cumpton. "It's especially exciting when I get an opportunity to promote great Soldiers like Capt. Williams. I'm extremely proud of Tom and his accomplishments and look forward to observing many future successes. His performance is one to emulate."
Williams is currently preparing for a captain's career course he will attend later this month at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 2002 Williams graduated from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin with a degree in international business. He is also a 1995 graduate of Carthage High School.
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