Nation and World

Leading the ranks

Alumnus rises within U.S. Army while not forgetting his JMU roots

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SUMMARY: Maj. Gen. Matt McFarlane ('92) credits JMU with giving him and his wife, Kelly ('92), the education and skills to thrive in any community. Currently the couple resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where McFarlane is commander of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.

By Khalil Garriott (’04)

Matt McFarlane’s (’92) journey with the U.S. Army has included several deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy, Kosovo and Alaska, plus stints as an Army Ranger, Master Parachutist, Expert Infantryman, Combat Infantryman and Pathfinder, and accolades such as the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. He recently added major general (two-star) to that impressive list of accomplishments.

McFarlane was promoted to commander of the 4th Infantry Division in October 2019. Previously the senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense at the Pentagon, McFarlane is now based in Fort Carson, Colorado, where he and his family are settling into the greater Colorado Springs community.

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“Working with some amazing subordinates, peers and superiors has helped me get to where I am today,” McFarlane said.

When the Burke, Virginia, native left Harrisonburg nearly 30 years ago as a distinguished military graduate, he didn’t picture a career like this. But he never wavered in wanting to serve his country.

“I planned to serve our country for a few years and get out when I stopped having fun,” McFarlane said. “I wanted to serve a purpose greater than myself, and working with some amazing soldiers and families along the way has made it especially rewarding.”

McFarlane, who attended the Unleashed event in Alexandria last year, has been a big advocate of the Duke Battalion. He and his wife, Kelly (’92), hosted a watch party for the FCS national championship game and are proud JMU alumni.

“JMU provided us with a great foundation to live and thrive in any community,” he said. “We’re just as grateful for the life experience at JMU as we are for the tremendous education.” 

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Published: Monday, April 27, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2020

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