Callaway airman reaches Colonel

Gerald McCray’s wife, Dottie, and children, Alaina, 7, and Cody, 6, pin his new colonel rank to his jacket at a pinning-on ceremony Wednesday in the Churchill Museum.

Gerald McCray’s wife, Dottie, and children, Alaina, 7, and Cody, 6, pin his new colonel rank to his jacket at a pinning-on ceremony Wednesday in the Churchill Museum.

While visiting home with his family between deployments, local airman Gerald McCray now sports a new title — Colonel.

The new rank officially takes affect Friday, and he held his pinning-on ceremony at Churchill Museum Tuesday afternoon.

McCray, originally of Mokane, is between his former post in California and an upcoming one-year deployment to Kyrgyzstan. His wife, Dottie, originally of Auxvasse, 7-year-old daughter, Alaina, and 6-year-old son, Cody, will stay in Fulton for the duration of his deployment, where the colonel will take command of the 376th Expeditionary Maintenance Group.

“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to serve at this rank, and I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that come with it,” he said.

While they were here in Fulton, McCray opted to hold the ceremony for pinning his new ranks to his jacket here in the Churchill Museum, where his brother-in-law Jody Paschal is involved.

“We thought because of the historical value and Churchill’s contribution to WWII that it just kind of seemed appropriate to have it there,” said Dottie McCray. “And a lot of the visitors that we had come had never been through there, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for them to see the museum.”

McCray was commissioned as an aircraft maintenance officer in the Air Force in 1993 after participating in Rolla’s ROTC program. He has been stationed all over the country and world in his 19 years of service, including a year-long stint in Iraq in 2005. He has no plans of retiring soon.

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