General praised at retirement ceremony at Fort Bragg
February 23, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - "He is the premiere airborne artilleryman of Fort Bragg," said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg commander.
The paratrooper he was speaking about was Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood during his retirement ceremony at the Fort Bragg Club Feb. 16.
"I'm not going to refer to this as a retirement because you know what Webster says about retirement, 'it's a withdraw from action, danger or a retreat,' and we all know General Hood would never do that," Helmick said.
Throughout his last 37 years of service, Hood commanded at several levels to include 14 years of assignments at Fort Bragg.
"Jay carried a lot of heavy rucksacks in his day. However, none were ever quite as heavy as when he served in the 82nd Airborne Division," said retired Gen. Dan K. McNeill.
Hood recently completed his assignment as the CENTCOM chief of staff.
"This man takes on the toughest assignments and challenges and makes them look easy," Helmick said.
However, Hood's peers and fellow Soldiers made it clear his hard work wasn't done seeking praise.
"For Jay Hood, it was never about fame and fortune. Rather it was about being on time, on target and never failing your comrades," McNeill added.
Hood said he could only speak about the many people who he felt helped him during his career.
"I owe so much to the incredible corps of noncommissioned officers with whom I have been privileged to serve," Hood said "Early on in my company grade years, they taught me the technical aspects of my trade as well as what right should look like."
Another important part of the ceremony was the acknowledgement and admiration of the Hood Family.
"What we can take from General Hood's performance at each of his assignments is the debt owed to the Hood Family by a grateful nation will likely never be paid in full," McNeill said.
Hood also had words of appreciation for his Family's ongoing support.
"Thank you for trekking all over the world with me; always caring and giving for Soldiers and their Families," Hood said. "Also, their continued sacrifices of things that most American families enjoy so that I could be a good Soldier."
Although Hood is undecided on his next move, one thing everyone could agree upon is it would involve him somehow serving Soldiers and country.
In the end, Hood wanted to make sure his fellow Soldiers know he will never forget his time with them.
"You can be assured I will never forget where I came from. I am a Soldier, and for the rest of my life, I will find ways to give back to those who have served and those who are serving."