ROUSES POINT - Although he lives in Massachusetts, Mooers native Michael J. Barcomb chose to have the ceremony for his promotion to Army colonel back home in the North Country.
Barcomb's ceremony was held at the American Legion Montgomery Post 912 Feb. 26, to allow his family to be a part of his big day.
"In the 24 years I've spent in the military, my family has never seen my promotion ceremony," explained Barcomb. "They had an impact on me as a young guy growing up and molded me to be the person I am. I thought for them this is a thank you back to them."
Barcomb, a 1982 graduate of Northeastern Clinton Central School, went to the College of St. Rose, graduating in 1987. While there, he joined the Army ROTC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.
"The day I graduated from college, that same day I took my oath and become an officer in the United States Army," he said. "And, from that day on, I was in the Army on active duty."
"I've always had an interest in [the Army] and one of my brothers-in-law ... was in the [Canadian] Army. So, as a young boy growing up, I was exposed to him being in the military and that always had my interest," Barcomb explained of his reasons for joining the Army. "When I found the opportunity to join the military and be an officer in the military through ROTC, I took that chance."
In 1990, Barcomb transferred to the Army Reserves, where he remains. In his years in the Reserves, his assignments have included being a platoon leader, executive officer, and, most recently, "Commander of Detachment 1 Strategic Intelligence Group" at Fort Devens, Mass.
In 2004, Barcomb was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"For me, when I had that opportunity to go to Afghanistan in 2004, it was not something that I ran from," he said. "I looked at this as my duty, this is my place to be. I've always enjoyed wearing my uniform and what it represents."
His uniform was another portion of his promotion ceremony for which he was able to make his own decision. Barcomb explained he could choose what uniform to be promoted in, deciding on the Army Combat Uniform.
"I chose that to wear because of what it represents - the soldiers on the battlefield and what they're fighting for - our freedom," he said.
Fighting for freedom was another reason Barcomb has chosen to stay in the Army for the last 24 years.
"I think for me it's the camaraderie. Working with the soldiers. Working on missions, whatever it was," he said. "But also the patriotism, knowing I'm serving my country and fighting for the freedoms that we have."
During the ceremony, Barcomb also chose to have his cousin and Legion member, Joseph Proulx, to be the narrator and post commander Robert St. John to preside over the ceremony.
"It was great to have a soldier from the North Country do the promotion and do it there," said Barcomb.
Beginning April 1, Barcomb will serve as the G-7 (training) for the Military Intelligence Readiness Command at Fort Belvoir, Va.