CASCOM commander returns home, shares personal insights with high school students
February 27, 2014
EMPORIA, Va. -- Forty years ago, a young Larry Wyche graduated Greensville County High School in Emporia, Va., and began a journey to find his purpose and passion in life. Monday, Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, returned home to share his thoughts and personal insights with students at his alma mater.
"I've worn the uniform of our nation for 38 years, and very proud to do so," he said. "Through the years, I've had some great mentors who helped shape and guide me through their actions and words.... As you begin your journey, I wanted to take some time and share with you some of my experiences and thoughts."
Wyche spoke to members of the "Mighty Eagles" senior class and faculty Feb. 24 as part of a student enhancement and motivational program. In addition to providing an opportunity to help mentor and grow the next generation of leaders, this was a very personal outreach engagement for Wyche.
During the hour-long interactive presentation, the GCHS alumni spoke candidly about his life experiences to the crowd of about 150 gathered in the school's gymnasium. He connected with the students on a personal level as he shared with them how he had been where they were in that same high school.
Wyche encouraged students to be committed to their academic studies and goals for the future. One of the questions he posed to the students was "why are you here?" In asking the question, Wyche said he wanted to give the students something to think about but he added that he wasn't going to give them the solution or a cookie-cutter answer.
"It doesn't matter where you start in life, there is nothing you cannot achieve if you set goals, work very hard and pursue your goals with passion and determination," Wyche said. "My goal was to get off that tobacco farm and create a better life for myself. But nothing is going to be given to you; you have to work hard to achieve success."
During his remarks, the general praised the faculty and staff at the school, recounting the important role teachers and mentors have had in his life.
Noting that while much had changed since he graduated in 1974, some things had not. "Greensville high has always been a special place," he said. "This school takes the education of its students seriously.
"You may not realize your potential but there are people around you who see it," he said in addressing the students. "You may think your teachers or parents are pushing you hard but they are really trying to help you reach your potential. They see it in you. You just have to see it in yourself."
Throughout his career, Wyche has maintained his connection with Emporia and its community.
"Every year on my birthday, my family gives me a subscription to the local newspaper," Wyche said. "No matter where I am in the world, I read the paper, stay connected and follow what's happening." He concluded his remarks by thanking the students in advance for the great works they will do. Also, letting them know that now he would be watching for news about them and their future successes.
"You can achieve anything you want, as long as you believe in yourself," he said.