Lt. Col. Stephen Bales received his promotion on Friday, Oct. 17 in an outdoor ceremony preceding the District town hall and end-of-year celebration.
“This is a huge moment in an officer’s career which many never get to. You’re ready for a command,” said Col. Keith Landry, commander. “I’m thankful to have you at Louisville.”
Bales, a native of London, Ky., said he was appreciative of his current assignment as the District’s deputy commander – his first stint with the Corps - and the support of his wife, Hope, throughout his Army career.
Bales’ career began with an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1988. He has served for 17 years with assignments in Korea, Australia, and Iraq.
Many of Bales’ family members made the trip to Louisville to attend the ceremony including his mother and father, Harold and Carolyn Bales, his sister Donna Baldwin, mother-in-law, Sandy Smith, sister-in-law, Christie Smith, and father-in-law, Tony Smith, but it was his high school English teacher, Mrs. Janis Wurster who provided early insight into Bales' exemplary character.
“If I had a son, I would want him to be just like Stephen,” she said. She noted that Bales had demonstrated leadership traits (and fine writing skills) early on and that she knew he was destined for a successful career.
Bales said he wants to ensure the district civilian workforce is given the same opportunities to excel that he had. “I will work hard to get you the tools to do your jobs,” he said.
Bales repeated a story regarding his past career highlights where a soldier under his command, told him he was a hard, but fair boss. "My soldier said, ‘Now I see how and why you are the way, you are.’" Bales said that was the best compliment he ever received because the soldier realized that his commander would do whatever it took to provide the necessary materials, back up and support, so the troops could accomplish the mission.
Brig. Gen. John Peabody, commanding general, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, led up the town hall following the promotion. Peabody thanked the civilians for deploying overseas to aid the Global War on Terror, and he recognized “those behind who picked up the brunt of the district work.”
Peabody said it is especially critical that the Louisville District step up to the plate and deliver projects and meet critical project milestones. Landry said the Louisville District had accomplished the highest workload in its history with $1.4 billion in military and civil contract awards.
The district also awarded the most ever small business contracts in FY07.