Farewell: A meaningful career
July 29, 2011
FORT GORDON, Ga. --- As Col. Glenn A. Kennedy II hands over the reins as garrison commander and marks the end of his military career, he does so with a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
“The Army has given me so many opportunities, and I am grateful,” said Kennedy, who was commissioned in the Army in 1986 through the ROTC program at North Georgia College in Dahlonega, Ga.
Undoubtedly inspired by his father, Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Kennedy, who died while serving in Vietnam when the younger Kennedy was just a baby, the garrison commander said he felt drawn to join the military.
“I’ve always wanted to do this from the time I was very small. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I suppose I had a calling to it. I was never really encouraged to do it or not to do it,” he said. “It’s really quite simply what I wanted.”
While he finds value in all of his assignments during his career, Kennedy said his most meaningful ones where the last three.
“If I had to pick a few of the more memorable events, I would have to say that my last three assignments were probably my favorite - garrison command, White House communications, and battalion command,” he said.
He served as commander of the 17th Signal Battalion in 2004-2005, leading the unit on a tour of Iraq in 2005.
“I would have to say that my greatest honor has been to lead American Soldiers in combat as a battalion commander. There can be no greater responsibility or honor. Nothing can cap that,” he said.
He spent his next three years working as the J-3 director of operations for the White House Communications Agency.
“The three years I spent directly supporting the President of the United States with communications support are packed with memories and high adventure,” he said.
And his last assignment as Fort Gordon’s garrison commander offered its own unique challenges. The job at Fort Gordon is unlike any other in the Army. He linked it to being a city manager.
Kennedy took over from Col. John Holwick in July 2009. In the past two years, Kennedy has had some unique experiences including assisting with a surgery on one of the military working dogs, training with Fort Gordon firefighters, helping Fort Gordon wildlife biologists in monitoring the fish population, meeting with chiefs from Native American Indian tribes and checking ID cards at the gates.
“There’s really not a day when you are not doing something interesting,” he said.
He also had the opportunity to lend his support to the Survivor Outreach Services program, which he has taken under his wing during his time as garrison commander.
“I do believe in it,” said Kennedy, who as a survivor could connect with other Families who had lost loved ones during times of war. “I believe there was a void in the last war; there will always be a need for Families to be taken care of. I think this is one of the things the Army got right.”
Kennedy said time will be the ultimate test for the program.
“The needs of survivors don’t go away,” he said. “People’s lives change as the years go by.”
Programs such as SOS impact Army Families in a unique way, and Kennedy said he found his job as garrison commander had the most interaction and impact on people than any other in his career.
“Every day you make decisions that impact almost everyone on the installation. This is a pretty incredible job, and it is great to have the ability to make a positive difference to so many people,” he said.
There has been a lot of progress on post under Kennedy. Among the accomplishments of the last two years are $40 million in training barracks upgrades, $1.6 million in range and training area upgrades, improvements to the main gates, construction of a 144-child capacity Child Development Center, $9 million in DFMWR projects and construction of multi-purpose courtyards in the permanent barracks areas.
Fort Gordon received the Phillip A. Connelly Award for dining facilities and an Army Community of Excellence Exemplary Practice Award for our RCI Housing Office’s work on mortgage forbearance.
A few other projects will be complete after Kennedy’s departure such as the re-opening of the indoor swimming pool, another child care center opening and a new hand-held scanning system for gate security.
All of these accomplishments have been made despite budgets being trimmed and having to do more with less.
“The Garrison, as an entity, has worked tirelessly to make Fort Gordon a better place to work, live and play. Every day, we have work to make a difference,” he said.
As he leaves Fort Gordon, Kennedy said he will miss the people the most.
“The people within garrison are phenomenal at what they do " every day, day in and day out,” he said.
As he retires, Kennedy doesn’t have any immediate plans. A graduate of Evans High School, who calls the Augusta area home, Kennedy said he doesn’t know if he will stay in this area or move on.
“I have never lived in the same house more than three years,” he said. “I have always looked at Augusta as my home, and I prefer to stay here. I have a lot of thinking to do.”