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Ceremony, Praise Accompany Promotion
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 17 page 10-10

The promotion ceremony of psychiatrist Loree Sutton, M.D. from colonel to brigadier general at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in May was the first military event ever held there, Sutton told Psychiatric News (see New Army General Leads PTSD, TBI Initiatives).

As is custom for a one-star general, the ceremony began with the presentation of colors and ended with a single ruffle and a flourish by an Army brass quartet. In between, Sutton received accolades and new uniform insignias and accouterments signifying her new rank.

Hosting the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, M.D., Ph.D., surgeon general/commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command.

Sutton's husband, Larry Leibrock, Ph.D., and her close friend Stefanie Sanford, Ph.D., placed new epaulettes with the single star on each shoulder of her dress uniform shirt.

Others, mostly Army officers who served as mentors to Sutton, gave her (or affixed to her uniform) other symbols of her new General Officer rank, including her single star pin, her belt and 9th Infantry Regiment Manchu warrior belt buckle, and her medical flags of maroon and white stars (for vehicle and other ceremonial uses).

A touching moment occurred when Army Sgt. Bethany Gebur, Sutton's driver at her previous post at Fort Hood, removed Sutton's old medical officer's insignia. Gebur's husband, Army Spec. Ronald Gebur, had been killed in Baghdad at age 23 two years ago almost to the day of Sutton's ceremony. He was among five deceased individuals (four of them soldiers) to whom Sutton dedicated her promotion ceremony.

"I am part of all that I have met," she said to her friends, family, and colleagues near the close of her promotion speech. "Without your continued patience and prayers, I cannot succeed. With your steadfast loyalty and love, I cannot fail."

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