Incoming deputy commander 'frocked' to brigadier general
by Col. Mike Daily
Marine Brig. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, incoming deputy commanding general for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, was promoted to his current rank in a ceremony held at MacDill May 20.
Lance Cpl. Randy Barker, a Clearfield, Utah, native, and Susan Jackson, wife of General Jackson, pinned on his current rank. Presiding over the ceremony was Chief of Staff for U.S. Central Command, Maj. Gen. John Castellaw.
General Castellaw said, "(General Jackson) was not appointed to this position by accident. His hard work, tough duty assignments and the support of his family the last 30 years had a lot to do with the promotion. We are closer to the beginning of the current conflict than the end and it is leaders like Tony who will lead us in this effort."
General Jackson, a 1973 graduate of San Jose State University, began his career as an infantry platoon commander with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Considering himself first and foremost a Marine Infantry Officer, the following 30 years of his career witnessed numerous command billets and influential staff assignments. According to Naval Historical Center records, the tradition of early promotion, or "frocking," dates back as early as 1802 when naval personnel assumed the uniform of the next higher rank, not necessarily with higher pay, in order to rapidly swell the ranks during war time or fill an unforeseen vacancy for which there was no one of equal rank. An early explanation for the link between the term and the practice is that the early undress uniform for a midshipman was a short coat whereas that for a lieutenant was a frock coat. When a midshipman was appointed to act in the capacity of a lieutenant, he wore the uniform of the latter. In this instance it could be said he was "frocked.”
"I have always felt that I'm an employee of my Marines and Sailors. I will do all I can to serve them and their families with my full measure," said General Jackson, commenting on the pinning of one of his stars by MARCENT's most junior Marine.
"Besides my wife, Susan, who represents our family and friends at today's ceremony, I also had the most junior person in the command pin on one of those stars. Whether you are a second lieutenant or a general, I think you work most for the junior Marines and Sailors," he went on to say. "The amazing thing is you take care of them and they take care of you. Lance Corporal Barker represents all of those junior Marines and Sailors who lifted me up and made it possible for me to be in this position today. His participation represents the hundreds of thousands of men and women I have had contact with over the course of the last thirty years.”
General Jackson will officially assume his duties as the deputy commander of MARCENT in June.