NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Saturday, a new general will take the helm of the Arkansas National Guard.
Major General Mark H. Berry is officially retiring after more than four decades of dedicated military service.
The Arkansas National Guard has about 10,000 uniform ready soldiers and airmen. Maj. Gen. Berry is in charge of all of those positions.
For most of his life, Maj. Gen. Berry has served the united states..
“I’ve been doing this every since I was in high school and the military has been great to me.”
In 2015, he was appointed by the Governor to be the adjutant general for the Arkansas National Guard. For the last four and a half years, he’s been the highest ranking military officially in the state.
“I worked hard. Went to school for many years, and worked my way up through the ranks, all the way up from airman basic,” he said.
As he reflects back on his time, he says serving Arkansans during disasters is one of the Guard’s most important missions.
“We dropped hundreds of thousands of pounds of sand on levees to prevent communities from being flooded,” said Maj. Gen. Berry.
Also, using resources to fight illegal drugs.
“We have a tremendous relationship with law enforcement and our counter drug effort.”
He says looking forward to the future, he’d like to see the Guard achieve many different things.
“What we are working on hard is training. We want to have an agile combat training force.”
As he prepares for this long dedicated career to come to an end, he says being boots on the ground was the most rewarding part.
“The greatest memories I’m going to have is being in the field with our soldiers and airmen.”
Maj. Gen. Berry says he’s grateful for his time served.
“It is very difficult to put in words how much I appreciate the men and women of the Arkansas National Guard.”
Tomorrow there will be an official change of command ceremony. Governor Asa Hutchinson has appointed Major General Kendall Penn to the post.