ARLINGTON, Va. - On the day he formally assumed the duties of the director of the Army National Guard, Army Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram, Jr. was simultaneously promoted to lieutenant general during a Pentagon ceremony here Monday afternoon.
The ceremony was standing-room-only as friends, family and colleagues from Ingram's almost 40-years of service as an Army National Guard officer came out to support the Army Guard's 20th director.
Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said, "The last time we had an official director of the Army National Guard was back in April of 2009."
Since then, Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter - who was also in attendance for the ceremony - has served as acting director for more than 29 months.
Speaking about the history of the position Ingram has assumed, McKinley said, "[He] joins a list of great Americans who have led the Army National Guard and who worked very closely with the Army and Army Reserve, and we couldn't be more pleased that this day has finally come."
Ingram is only the third director to hold the rank of three-star general in the position's history since Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Fleming served from 1948 to 1950.
"As we pick somebody for this very important senior National Guard position, it's important to pick the right person," said Army Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army.
"[He] is a guy who has been out there in the field and one who has served as adjutant general … out there doing the tough jobs. That is exactly the kind of person we want to face the challenges ahead in the next few years."
After the presentation of the official promotion order, the pinning of his new rank by Odierno, McKinley and family members and the swearing-in, Ingram addressed the crowd for the first time as a lieutenant general.
"We live in interesting times," Ingram said, "and the American people expect us to answer every call, to handle every disaster and to win every fight - whether here at home or abroad.
"Our Soldiers live in every zip code and congressional district in America, and we are a solid cross-section of the nation," he said.
"As I assume the position of director, I can assure you that the Army National Guard, after 10 years of war, is undoubtedly the best that we have ever been."
Ingram's most recent assignment was as special assistant to the vice chief of staff, Army. Before that he served as the adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard for more than nine years.