Team Redstone honors retiring congressman
January 8, 2009
Redstone senior leaders, city officials, employees and friends gathered Dec. 18 in Bob Jones Auditorium to express their appreciation and farewell to retiring Rep. Bud Cramer during a salute ceremony.
After 17 years of serving the 5th District in the House of Representatives, Cramer bids farewell. "I'm retiring so I can do something else," said Cramer, who officially retired Jan. 2.
"Greatness is walking out the door," said Redstone commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, who equated him to sports greats such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. "You represent everything in our Warrior Ethos."
Before the presentations, an eight-minute video was shown of Cramer's career and contributions to the defense and space programs. Photos and videos of numerous ribbon cuttings and ground breakings on Redstone and the surrounding community typified the growth in Huntsville and were attributable to Cramer's proactive support.
Retired Lt. Gen. Larry Dodgen, former commander of Space and Missile Defense Command, said Cramer was the reason for the steady growth of missile defense programs. "Bud was our go-to guy to make things happen," he said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Al Sullivan, former Redstone commander, credited Cramer for always being there for the Soldiers.
Reflecting on his experiences and growing up around Redstone Arsenal, Cramer said he was always fascinated about the military presence in the Huntsville community.
"I was excited to go into the gates of Redstone Arsenal," he said. "We were proud of Redstone. We were proud of the missiles."
After the video presentation, Redstone leaders presented Cramer with a parting gift and said a few words about him. SMDC commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell said Cramer will always be remembered for his honesty and integrity. What separates Cramer from the rest, Campbell said, is that his honesty showed through his actions.
"You are truly interested. You really do care," Campbell said. He presented Cramer with a crystal globe to remind him of the men and women in uniform around the world for whom he has served.
Marshall Space Flight Center director David King said Cramer has always been a tireless advocate for the 5th District and for NASA. "You were always willing to step up to the plate," he said. He added that Cramer led the charge to support the International Space Station by one vote. Cramer's support allowed NASA to rebuild their aging buildings while continuing to expand and build the infrastructure needed to support the space program. King presented Cramer with the NASA Exceptional Public Service medal.
Maj. Gen. Chris Anzalone, Missile Defense Agency deputy for test, called the salute a "bittersweet moment." He credited Cramer for not allowing his power or fame to overcome his core values. "Often you see members of Congress waver. You never did," he said.
Anzalone praised Cramer for going beyond the call of duty in taking care of all the military on Redstone Arsenal. He presented Cramer with a star lapel pin that signified being a true member of the MDA family. Anzalone also recognized Cramer's efforts for leading the way in MDA's move to Huntsville.
Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said that although this was the first time he had ever met the congressman, he felt the impact of Cramer's support long before they met. Two of Redstone's new buildings, including the new Child Development Center, are attributable to Cramer's support. Pastorelli presented Cramer with a trophy on behalf of the Garrison.