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Stripes to Stars: The Promotion of Brigadier General Allan R. Cecil

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing

It is a beautiful, sunny day in North Carolina, the perfect backdrop as U.S. Air Force Col. Allan R. Cecil promotes inside a hangar at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to the rank of Brigadier General amongst a small gathering of friends and family, July 18, 2020.

Brig. Gen. Allan R. Cecil has served with the North Carolina Air National Guard since the beginning of his career in 1984 when he enlisted as a weather specialist. In 1997, Brig. Gen. Cecil commissioned as an officer and has since worked within many units, learning new trades and skillsets, that would culminate in him being a wealth of knowledge for his newly appointed position as Chief of Staff with the North Carolina National Guard.

Despite the current global pandemic, friends and family of Brig. Gen. Cecil are able to celebrate with him, this incredible milestone in his military career.

“This is a great day for your promotion, it doesn’t just represent your accomplishments but the accomplishments of your units,” said the presiding official for Brig. Gen. Cecil’s promotion ceremony, Adjutant General of North Carolina National Guard, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. M. Todd Hunt. “He’s the right leader with the experience and common sense to help us guide our forces through this next generation, through these troubling times, and to navigate through the obstacles we face today.”

As the North Carolina National Guard Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Cecil will serve both the men and women of the Army and Air National Guard; working with the Army is not new to Brig. Gen. Cecil given his time as a weather specialist when he first enlisted.

“Those 13 years of Army support gave me a very great appreciation for the ground game and the folks on the front lines,” said Brig. Gen. Cecil.

Brig. Gen. Cecil understands his recent promotion is a culmination of teamwork and guidance through the efforts of family and workmates.

“It’s a promotion of more than one person, because so many people invest in the individuals that get promoted,” stated Brig. Gen. Cecil. ”I’ve had so many in my career invest in me…to help me develop my career.”

Transitioning from enlisted to officer is no small feat; Brig. Gen. Cecil maintains that the opportunity of doing so has been beneficial to his military career.

“A career, whether it is enlisted or commissioned is an opportunity; we are all presented with opportunities, and sometimes we don’t see them as an opportunity, but take advantage of every opportunity,” states Brig. Gen. Cecil. “Every time you come out here, every time you come to drill, it is an opportunity.”

In his new role as the North Carolina National Guard Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Cecil will see a change from working wing-level to headquarters.

“When you’re in a headquarters element, it’s typically smaller and removed from the day to day type of interaction with folks so I know I will miss the people,” said Brig. Gen. Cecil. “It’s a new opportunity, it will be exciting to see the mission from that perspective. I hope I’m able to streamline some things so it works better for the organization.”

Brig. Gen. Cecil hopes to continue mentoring the Airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard while still learning and gathering wisdom from superiors and peers.

“People need people involved in their lives; we have a strong tradition here and I hope to continue that,” said Brig. Gen. Cecil. “The North Carolina Air National Guard has been and remains a family.”

“It has been a phenomenal ride, one that I didn’t expect, but one I am deeply honored and humbled by,” said Brig. Gen. Cecil. “The great thing is, it’s all been here with the North Carolina Air National Guard. To be able to watch the organization and the people grow over the decades has been very fulfilling and exciting.”

While the seating for the ceremony was limited due to restrictions with Covid-19, many supporters were watching and sharing positivity as the event was live-streamed. It took much forethought and guidance to pull-off an event of this nature with new conditions through unprecedented times but the North Carolina Army and Air National Guard pulled it off without a hitch.

“I have a flood of emotions and thoughts go through me the last couple days, months, even year,” said Brig. Gen. Cecil, “A ceremony like this is a very humbling experience; to see so many people working towards one effort, for one promotion…it means a lot to both me and my family.”