top of page

Patriotic Speaker for the 239th
Fourth of July Celebration

Each year a Patriotic Speaker or Speaker of the Day is
chosen by the Committee to speak to our community to
kick-off July 4th
Congratulations to the Patriotic
for the 239th Fourth of July Celebration, 

Brigadier General (Ret.) Greg Ebner.


Our Patriotic Speaker for 2024 is Brigadier General (Ret.) Greg Ebner of Bristol. General Ebner gives credit to his mother and father for instilling his strong work ethic anchored in respect and discipline, but he also credits the U.S. Army.

After graduating from high school, Ebner left his parents and three younger brothers in Michigan and reported to the United States Military Academy. Upon graduation from West Point in 1988 with an aerospace engineering degree, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Aviation Branch of the United States Army and began a career serving the nation for more than three decades.

As an Army aviator, Ebner completed assignments as a platoon leader and battalion staff officer at: Fort Hood, Texas; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served as an aeroscout platoon leader with 2nd Armored Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and then joined the Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

After finishing the Aviation Officer Advanced Course at Fort Rucker, Ebner served as an Aviation Company Executive Officer within the First U.S. Support Battalion as part of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, helping to maintain peace in that region. During this assignment, he planned and executed reconnaissance, general support and medical evacuation aviation operations.

He later joined 1st Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Regiment within the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, serving as an operations officer of a ground/air squadron. He continued to work in the operations section with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, eventually taking command of a cavalry troop within the aviation squadron of that regiment. Following troop command, he changed career specialties from Aviation to Foreign Area Officer (FAO), responsible for developing expertise in the politics, economics, military, societies, languages, and cultures of the Middle East Region. Ebner joined this elite corps of professionals as a soldier-statesman and an ambassador not only representing the U.S. Army but the United States and the Department of Defense. In addition to serving at the Pentagon, he also deployed to Qatar and Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ebner’s additional studies include completion with distinction of the Arabic program at the Defense Language Institute, and a Masters of Military Science from the Kuwaiti Staff College earned while on assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City. Upon return from Kuwait, Ebner studied at the University of Michigan, earning a master’s degree in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies. He also completed the Command and General Staff Officers Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. and earned his PhD in Arabic with a focus on applied linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2005, Ebner was assigned to West Point as the senior officer instructor of the Arabic Section within the Department of Foreign Languages (DFL). He advanced within DFL, serving as the departmental operations officer and, eventually, the acting deputy department head. In 2016, Colonel Ebner expanded his experience in postsecondary education as the assistant provost of continuing education at the Defense Language Institute. Ebner completed his Army career as the head of West Point’s Department of Foreign Languages, a position that he held for eight years until his Army retirement in 2022. Leading the department comprised of nine language sections, he oversaw learning and development of thousands of cadets over the years, personally teaching hundreds of them in the Arabic or Linguistics classroom. He led efforts to modernize the curriculum and facilities of the department, enhanced the scholarly production of its faculty, and created an organization that advanced the leadership potential of the civilian faculty. Beyond languages, Ebner was one of the inaugural instructors of the Academy’s new course in Officership, teaching cadets critical lessons about leading in the increasingly interconnected environments of the 21stcentury. In addition to his duties as department head, Ebner also served as the Officer in Charge of the Cadet Glee Club, attending to the professional development of 80 cadets and expanding the Club’s ability to meet its mission as musical ambassadors for the Academy.

At West Point, Ebner saw firsthand the transformational power of education and came to believe in the profound importance of ensuring that everyone has access to that opportunity. A large part of the development that he witnessed among the cadets year after year came from their exposure to new ideas and, for some, new languages, cultures, and societies. From these experiences, he aimed to support similar development after his time in the Army.

After arriving in Rhode Island, Ebner took a position on the faculty of the University of Rhode Island, teaching courses in Arabic language and Culture. In 2023, he became the Assistant Commissioner of Postsecondary Education (Academics and Student Affairs) for the State of Rhode Island. In his current position, he works closely with educational leaders, fulfilling his goal to contribute to higher education. Together with his wife, Mary Ann, who teaches English to adult learners, the Ebners continue to work to provide transformational educational opportunities to people across New England.

A champion of students and educators alike, Dr. Ebner has devoted his academic career to helping all reach their full potential. As the state explores pathways to develop and sustain a successful workforce in a changing landscape, he remains dedicated to directing efforts to use higher education as a tool to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders.

After 34 years of living wherever the Army ordered, Greg and Mary Ann are happy to have discovered Bristol. They are grateful parents of two sons, Liam and Jonas, who made many moves during their father’s Army career and also helped with the family move to Rhode Island. Liam works in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and Jonas is a second lieutenant serving in the U.S. Army. The Ebners love living in Bristol, appreciating the history of the region, enjoying Rhode Island’s natural beauty, and celebrating the patriotic spirit of its people.

bottom of page