As Paul E. Funk II was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 9, he officially retired as an armor officer and became a general officer.
Funk, supported by his wife, Beth, and their parents — including two retired three-star generals — turned to his children and said it was for them that he served.
“To our wonderful kids … you guys are the reason I serve — strive to ensure that our enemies know we are resolute and unbending and our friends know we are the most giving people on earth,” he said.
The Funks have three children, Matt, Amanda, and Nathaniel. Matt and Amanda are students at the University of Texas-Arlington.
Funk, deputy commanding general for Combined Arms Center-Training, has been in the Army for 26 years. He began his career as platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and eventually became the battalion S3. Funk served in Southwest Asia in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 3rd Armored Division.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, hosted Funk’s promotion ceremony. He served under Funk’s father in-law, retired Lt. Gen. John Yeosock, and father, retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, and the younger Funk later served under Dempsey. Dempsey said all three men were serving overseas during Operation Desert Storm when Beth Funk gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Amanda.
“I’ve watched Paul throughout his entire career, and not once did he ever ask for or accept anything on their behalf,” Dempsey said. “He earned every bit himself.”
Dempsey also gave credit to Beth, who provided leadership to families during three of her husband’s deployments and has had a successful career in education. She currently serves as a member of the Fort Leavenworth School Board.
“I do this a lot, I promote people all the time,” Dempsey said. “And I enjoy it; it’s an honor to be asked. But when you’re asked to promote somebody like this, someone who you feel such a kinship to, someone who you know shares your view and your vision of what the Army should be like, someone with a family support group behind them …”
Dempsey said Funk was an incredibly gifted mentor to the units under his command, which is why Dempsey picked him when he needed a dependable officer.
“The question is how you get it done,” Dempsey said. “How do you get it done so your unit feels good about itself, so that it has cohesion and so that the young men and women who serve in it want to be like (Funk) when they grow up? Because that’s what it takes.”
Dempsey said leaders like the Funks were needed most to help solve the problems affecting today’s all-volunteer Army during persistent conflict.
A tearful Funk thanked his friends and family, and especially the Soldiers who served under his command. He commanded the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and later served as the division G3 during the unit’s deployment to Iraq. He also commanded the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in Iraq for 15 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006-08. Funk assumed duties at CAC-T on Fort Leavenworth in 2009.
Funk included in his speech remarks shared by his father at Fort Knox on Oct. 17, 1992.
The elder Funk was inactivating the 3rd Armored Division when he recited part of a Rudyard Kipling poem: “I have eaten your bread and salt. I have drunk your water and wine. The deaths ye died I have watched beside. And the lives ye led were mine.”