Christian earns second star, takes command of 412th in Vicksburg

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, November 18, 2017

The U.S. Army’s 412th Theater Engineer Command officially has a new commander.

Daniel Christian was promoted from Brigadier General to Major General earning his second star during a ceremony Saturday at the Vicksburg National Military Park before officially assuming command of the 412.

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“Wow,” Christian said. “I tell this to my son who is a Lieutenant, ‘yeah I always wanted to be a general, but that is one percent of the force that becomes a general officer and it is even smaller to be a two star.’ It is extremely humbling and I am just daunted. I really hope to live up to those expectations. There is a lot of energy going through me, a lot of excitement.”

The 412, which is a headquartered in Vicksburg, is a U.S. Army reserve unit including about 13,000 soldiers throughout 28 states stretching from Massachusetts down the east coast, west into Texas and north into Tennessee.

“Our mission is to support the various exercises that are going on in the United States and overseas,” Christian said. “As engineers, we have three basic missions, which are survivability, mobility and counter mobility. We do that for the combat arms capability of the U.S. Army.”

Prior to Saturday’s ceremony, Christian had served as the deputy commander of the 412 for 18 months overseeing training and operations for the division.

“It is an incredible opportunity,” Christian said. “I humbled and honored to command a unit number one, be promoted number two, but to have the responsibility of these soldiers. These are our nation’s sons and daughters so making sure they are fully trained and prepared to do our nation’s calling in some ways is a daunting task. I think we are going to do a great job. We are setting the course and path this weekend and we are going to do great things.”

Christian was officially pinned as a two-star general on the steps of the Illinois monument in the Vicksburg National Military Park by his wife, Donna Christian. He was then sworn in as a Major General by Maj. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, the U.S. Army Reserve Deputy Commanding General, and presented with the official flag of a two-star general — a red flag with two white stars on it.

“I want to tell you that with Dan Christian you have a leader with the leadership skills and traits to take you to the next level of where you need to be,” Carpenter said to the assembled members of the 412. “Do not resist change. Listen to your leader.”

Christian was joined at the ceremony by Maj. Gen. Miyako Schanely, the commander of the 416th Theater Engineer Command, Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, and Brig. Gen. Donna Williams, the deputy commanding general of the 412.

After being promoted to Major General, Christian officially assumed command of the 412 during a formal ceremony that included him being presented with the flag of the 412 by a color guard unit.

The ceremony also included a round of artillery fire to mark the occasion with the Third Louisiana Redan as a backdrop. 

“I was learning toward doing it at the center, and if anybody has been to the center it is not this,” Christian said. “I think this was a great place to celebrate. If you know anything about Vicksburg, you will know that this was President Lincoln’s focus area.”

Christian joined the Engineer Corps in 1983 out of Niagara University. In the private sector, he serves as the vice president of information technology for AAA Cooper Transportation based in Dothan, Ala.