EKU Alumnus and Four-Star General Visits Campus, Performs Enlistment Ceremony

Published on November 07, 2022

By Elise Russell

Among the most notable alumni of Eastern Kentucky University, Gen. James Rainey visited the Richmond, Kentucky, campus Nov. 4-5. The weekend included a full schedule of events with Rainey, including an enlistment ceremony, as part of the university’s Military Appreciation Day. 

Rainey was recently promoted to four-star general and confirmed as commander of the United States Army Futures Command on October 4, 2022. He is the only known EKU alumnus to have earned a  four-star ranking in the military. 

“We are exceptionally proud to have an EKU graduate serving our country as one of the top-ranking officials of the U.S. Army,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “Achieving the rank of four-star general is such a high level of distinction that so few reach in their military career. We are grateful that General Rainey was able to ‘come home’ to the campus that got to witness his start.”

Rainey was commissioned in 1987 as an infantry officer from EKU and has served continuously for over 35 years. Prior to his current position with the Army Futures Command, Rainey held several leadership roles in the Army, including deputy chief of staff of the G-3/5/7 at the Pentagon, commanding general of the United States Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and commander of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, among others. 

While visiting EKU, Rainey performed the enlistment ceremony during halftime of the football game on Saturday.

“The most important people in the United States Army are our youngest people who volunteer to serve,” said Rainey. “One of the reasons we’re the best military in the world is because we don’t make people serve; 100 percent of the men and women in the United States Army volunteer to do that, and that’s what this ceremony today is about. The Army has kept America free since 1775, so for 247 years, everything we have in this country has been underwritten by men and women joining.” 

Those enlisted during Saturday’s ceremony included 12 soldiers from the eastern Kentucky region who joined the U.S. military.

Rainey’s visit to EKU also included a social Friday evening with the recipients of the Jim and Tracy Rainey Endowed Scholarship and ROTC luncheon, tour of the ROTC facilities, tailgate and EKU Football vs. Central Arkansas game on Saturday. He was accompanied by his wife Tracy, also an EKU graduate. 

Eastern Kentucky University holds a long-standing reputation for excellence in providing educational opportunities for veterans, members of the military and their families. EKU is currently ranked No. 3 in the Military Friendly® Schools review, and No. 9 nationally and the first in Kentucky among the “Best for Vets” public institutions by Military Times.