General John M. “Mike” Murray: Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony

On December 3, 2021, United States Army General Mike Murray relinquished AFC command and entered retirement following a distinguished 39-year Army career.  And a truly distinguished career it was, from commissioning as an ROTC cadet at The Ohio State University to becoming a Four-Star General, and the very first commander of the Army’s new Futures Command (AFC), activated in 2018 (August 24th), with headquarters in Austin, Texas.   AFC: “Forge The Future.”

Among other accolades, General Murray was described during the ceremony, as a “proven warfighter and inspirational leader.”  In his farewell remarks, Murray spoke to the question of what had kept him serving in the Army for almost four-decades.  Said he: “It’s always been about the people.  I’ve always been surrounded by great people.  You simply can’t be a strong leader if you don’t have the right people working with you. Without exceptional people, you’re not going to be able to get anything done!”

Looking back over his Army career, he concluded that “there’s not a single thing in my life that I’d rather have done. I’ve been incredibly blessed, going all the way back to the company level.  The United States Army, that is, our soldiers, continue to be the best and brightest that the Army has to offer.  I’ll always be indebted for the privilege of leading them.”

In his change of responsibility remarks, General Murray’s Command Sergeant Major Michael Crosby had some important advice for soldiers (or even civilians, for that matter) when he said: “Do the right thing all the time.  You never know who’s observing you!”  And along with that, “always make the people your priority.”  Following that very advice is what CSM Crosby credits for his selection, by General Murray, as AFC’s first CSM.

As indicated earlier, Army Futures Command (AFC) was first being talked about by the Army back in 2015, and was then made a reality just three-years later (2018).  With its impressive, intensified, and accelerated  development, supported by academic and industry talent, of new state-of-the-art equipment for America’s war-fighting soldiers, AFC’s efforts are said to represent “the largest transformation of the Army in 40-years.”  General Murray felt like it might actually be closer to 50-years, because “the last U.S. soldier left Vietnam in 1973,” and this was the first dramatic change-agent effort since. The General considered the AFC command assignment to be “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”  As stated earlier, General Murray was the very first commander of this brand-new AFC equipment and weapons concept.

Previously, within the last ten-years, then as a Two-Star, General Murray served as commander of the Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.  He has always been grateful for the support of his dear wife, Jane.  Once he hit twenty-years of service, he indicated that he gave his wife “51% vote” in whether to continue serving or retire.  She had always then repeatedly “voted” for him to continue serving!!  Without question, Jane Murray has “served” for 39-years as a great Army wife.

Army Chief of Staff General James McConville was the presiding officer for the combined Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony, held at AFC headquarters in Austin, TX.  Secretary of the Army, the Honorable Christine Wormuth also attended and provided remarks for the occasion.  Following General Murray as AFC Commander will be LTG James Richardson.  It was an impressive gathering of current and past Army senior officers and officials, as an appropriate send-off for an outstanding Army General Officer.  The ceremony was carried live by Teams, Facebook and YouTube.