NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas National Guard) - The Arkansas National Guard recognized its newest general officer with a promotion ceremony held at Camp Robinson Sunday.
Brig. Gen. Kirk Van Pelt, a Little Rock native, was promoted to brigadier general.
Van Pelt joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in 1983 and has served in numerous assignments to include two combat tours in Iraq. During the first tour in 2004, Van Pelt served as the battalion commander of the Arkansas National Guard's 2nd Battalion 153rd Infantry Regiment, or affectionately known as "Gunslingers". During his second tour in 2008, he served as the Deputy Commander of the Arkansas National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade Combat team.
"Soldiers of the Arkansas National Guard are seasoned professionals who are combat proven and ready for anything," said Maj. William D. Wofford, The Adjutant General for Arkansas, "Brig. Gen. Van Pelt was selected for promotion because of his warrior ethos, care for soldiers and ability to operate at the next level."
Van Pelt is a highly decorated military officer who has earned two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Expert Infantry Badge and the Air Assault Badge. He is regarded by those who have served under his command as a true soldier's general; a reflection of both his leadership and tremendous care for the welfare of his troops.
"He was a very proactive leader," said Staff. Sgt. Joshua S. Dodson, who served under Van Pelt during the 2004 Iraq deployment, "If there was a firefight and he was there, you knew he would be in the trenches with the troops; that meant a lot to us."
In his new role Van Pelt will serve as the commander of the Arkansas National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters; providing command and control over Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Camp J.T. Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Marksmanship Training Center and a host of other directorates supporting the mission of the Arkansas National Guard.
"Serving in the Guard has provided me with a lot of opportunities," said Van Pelt, "As a citizen-soldier the training and experience I received from my time in the Guard has made me a better leader for my business; likewise my business experience adds value to my military role as well."
Van Pelt is Vice-President of AIC inc., a systems integration firm located in Sherwood, Arkansas.
"I owe a lot to both my business partners and my family; without their support I would not be here today" said Van Pelt during Sunday's ceremony.
Van Pelt and his family currently reside in Maumelle. He is married to the former Kelly Sheehan and they have three children: James, a senior at the University of Central Arkansas; Katie, a freshman at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; and Hannah, a Junior at North Little Rock High School.