Another distinction has been bestowed upon a Palmerton native who continues to climb the ladder of success one rung at a time.
Major Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, 2nd U.S. Army, was promoted on Friday to the rank of Lieutenant General at Fort Belvoir, Va, in a ceremony presided over by Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general, U.S. Forces Command.
"Less than 10 percent of major generals in the U.S. Army are promoted to a three-star lieutenant general," said Thurman, who joined Pat Hernandez, the wife of Rhett Hernandez, as they pinned the third star. More than 300 friends, soldiers, civilians and contractors joined Hernandez to honor and support his promotion. The U.S. Senate confirmed Hernandez's Presidential nomination to the rank of lieutenant general March 2.
Hernandez expressed thanks to those closest to his heart.
"Now to a family that has given me more love and joy in a lifetime than any individual should have. My mother could not be here today to hear me say how thankful I am for the opportunity she prepared me for ... she taught me values that made me feel right at home in the military," Hernandez said. She is where it all started, I miss her today and love her dearly."
Hernandez said his family has been his biggest support system.
"I saved the best and hardest for last, to my daughter Sarah, my son Mark and my wife Pat, they are the best," he said. "They make me smile when I see them and when I talk to them. Every time I see them I can only think of how fortunate I am."
Hernandez assumed command of the U.S. Army Cyber Command Oct. 1 of last year. Army Cyber is the Army Service Component for Cyberspace Operations.
He was commissioned second lieutenant, artillery, from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., June 2, 1976. Throughout his 34 years of service, he has served in numerous key field and staff assignments.
Hernandez has commanded several units, such as the 3rd Batallion, 16th Field Artillery and the Division Artillery, 4th Infantry Division located in Fort Hood, Texas. He also served as the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va.
He has also served as a strategic planner with the Office of Personnel Management System Task Force in Alexandria, Va.; the Chief of Operations Division for the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.; director of the Office of Personnel Management Directorate and Chief of the U.S. Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia.
Hernandez is a graduate of the field artillery basic and advanced courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the National War College at Fort Leslie J. McNair, Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor of science degree from the United States Military Academy, a master of education degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, and a master of science degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
His decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal (2nd Award) with one oak leaf cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal (2nd Award) with one oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit (2nd Award) with one oak leaf cluster; Bronze Star Medal meritorious; Service Medal (5th Award) with four oak leaf clusters; Army Commendation Medal (5th Award) with four oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award) with one oak leaf cluster; Combat Action Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.