MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker expanded the Wisconsin National Guard’s constellation a bit Jan. 12 when he promoted Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson to the rank of major general — a two-star rank — during a formal ceremony in the Senate chamber at the state capitol building.
Noting that Anderson, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, and Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, like to join the governor’s annual motorcycle ride across Wisconsin, Walker joked that “now I can say I ride with four stars.”
Dunbar said reaching the rank of major general is “exceptional,” adding that it is the highest rank in the National Guard — the three-star generals who serve as directors of the Army and Air National Guard, and the four-star general who serves as the National Guard Bureau director, are congressional exceptions.
For Maj. Gen. Anderson, his promotion to two-star is the result of being selected to serve as the deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). In that role, he is the principal Army National Guard advisor to the TRADOC commanding general, ensuring that the National Guard mission, skill sets and capabilities are considered and integrated into the Total Army and Joint transformation.
“I can’t think of a better man for this position,” Dunbar said. “These positions are rare.”
Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard, and Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, chose Anderson for the TRADOC position.
“This process is fully with the concurrence of the adjutant general and the governor before I was even notified,” Anderson said.
The Wisconsin National Guard now has three two-star generals, at least for the time being. Nearly three years ago, Brig. Gen. John McCoy was promoted to the rank of major general at the state capitol. McCoy is currently the Air National Guard assistant to the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Rudolph — a similar role to that Anderson will perform at TRADOC.
However, while McCoy remained a Wisconsin Air National Guard member, he did not remain in his role as deputy adjutant general for civil support. Anderson will continue to perform his duties as deputy adjutant general for Army, where he is charged with the critical mission of leading the state’s Soldiers as they fulfill their unique dual-mission as the state’s first military responder in times of emergency and as the Army’s primary combat reserve, but he acknowledged that his TRADOC duties will impact his schedule
“The position will require more of my time since the duties are much more expansive than what I did in either of my two dual-hat assignments,” Anderson said. He has previously served as the deputy commanding general for Army National Guard, Field Artillery Center at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 2009-2012, and most recently served as special assistant on diversity to Gen. Lengyel from 2015 to this year.
“We are very lucky that we have two high-quality brigadier generals in Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews and Brig. Gen. David O’Donahue,” Anderson continued. “Having them to assist is not new and something we did all the time.”
Anderson expressed appreciation for the support, mentorship and trust that brought him to this moment in his military career.
“It’s hard to fathom that almost 35 years ago I raised my right hand and swore an oath to the constitution,” he said, noting that he renewed that same oath on the Bible belonging to his late father, a World War II Navy veteran. His family is filled with veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and he thanked those who shaped his career along the way.
“Today is a great day,” Anderson said, “but every day is a great day to be in the Army.”