FORSCOM mobilization systems expert retires
September 10, 2013
(FORT BRAGG, N.C.) Sept. 9, 2013 -- Bruce Carlson faithfully served the Army and nation for more than four decades, first as a Soldier and then as an Army civilian employee.
On Aug. 27, his family, friends and colleagues gathered to honor Carlson and celebrate his Aug. 31 retirement from federal civilian service. Mr. Nate Godwin, U.S. Army Forces Command assistant deputy chief of staff, G3/5/7 (Operations, Plans and Training) and a member of the senior executive service, hosted the ceremony.
"Today we say bon voyage to Bruce Carlson," said Godwin, "Bruce's career spans a long time. He had a tremendous career"
Carlson's Army career began in June 1971 at the Armed Forces Examination and Entrance Station in Chicago as the military draft was set to expire. At that time, he was considered to be one of the last Vietnam era draftees. This distinction resulted in a local Chicago television station reporting on his induction into the military.
Although Congress ultimately extended the draft law for two more years shortly after Carlson's induction, his career carried the distinction as one of the last Soldiers to be drafted.
During his opening comments, Godwin asked guests to raise their hands if they had been drafted and shared the story he recalled of a photograph of Carlson in the basement of the old FORSCOM headquarters at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, "they had a picture of Bruce in his olive green uniform with a caption that read -- "The Last Draftee of the Vietnam War."
Carlson served 22 years as a Soldier, retiring as a master sergeant in 1993 after his last military assignment on the FORSCOM staff.
He followed his uniformed service to the Army with several years working for a Department of Defense contract partner as a deployment systems instructor for the Army and the other military services.
In 1999, Carlson re-joined the FORSCOM team as a civilian employee in the mobilization systems and policy team in the plans division. During the past 14 years, he was considered a subject matter expert in troop mobilization systems and was instrumental in the transitions from legacy systems into the tools used today.
Describing the occasion as a bittersweet moment for the Army, Godwin emphasized, "It's a sweet day because we get an opportunity to thank you for 42 years of selfless service to our nation."
"On behalf of our leadership and all of us assembled here, we thank you, a job well done!"
After the presentation of his retirement certificate and other items commemorating his service, Carlson addressed the audience and remarked, "It's been a great forty-plus years. We've made a lot of great friends over that time."
"Who would have thought that after being drafted, I would have made it this far and have made the Army a career, and made it a successful one."
Carlson recounted many of the things he did over the years and he described how fortunate he felt to have served for as long as he did.
"I think it is important that we serve our nation," said Carlson as he concluded his remarks, "and to continue to serve as long as we are physically able.
"I thank you all for attending and I can't say enough about all the friendships that we've formed over all these years. I hope that they will continue."
Carlson and his wife plan to return to Georgia and settle near where their daughter resides.