Wolf retires after 33 years of service
June 28, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 28, 2012) -- The Fort Rucker Family said goodbye to a commander whose Army career spanned more than three decades.
Soldiers, friends and Family members were in attendance at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum for the retirement ceremony of Brig. Gen. William T. Wolf, former director of Army safety and commanding general for the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.
"[Wolf] spent his career training and leading Soldiers in peace and combat," said Lt. Gen. William J. Troy, director of the Army staff. "The thing he loves best is being around hard-working Soldiers," adding that Wolf wore his Army combat uniform to the ceremony as a reflection of his dedication to his Soldiers.
Wolf graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1979, which began his 33-year Army career that has taken him across multiple continents with assignments that ranged from section leader, operations officer for the Division Aviation Company, 5th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Polk, La., to secretary of the general staff, U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army in Germany, to his most recent position here at Fort Rucker as the director of Army safety and commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, according to the lieutenant general.
"It's really tough to put 33 years of a career into a few short words," said Wolf. "My career has been more than just assignments. It has been measured by the incredible Soldiers, civilians and Families that [my wife], Sandy, and I have been blessed to serve alongside."
Wolf was given the opportunity to command in combat, which, according to Troy, is an honor that only a select group of Soldiers are afforded.
"He did the one thing that you have to do to get ahead in this Army," said Troy. "It's the [one] thing I tell young officers. Take the hard jobs and do them well … and that is exactly what Bill has done."
Troy said it is in those times when the job is rough that shows the character of a leader and spoke about Wolf's time as commander of the 11th Aviation Regiment (Attack) in Karbala, Iraq. The unit was given a mission to conduct attacks against the Republican Guard on the night of March 23, 2003.
"A number of aircraft were damaged [that night] and some aircraft had to go down. The bottom line … is that it was one tough fight," he said. "This is when the character of a leader is revealed. It's not when everything is going well, it's when some things are not going well. Bill Wolf revealed the strength of his character that night.
"He showed absolute calm, sense of purpose and his focus was absolutely intact," Troy continued. "His Soldiers fed off that. It has got to be in many ways Bill's finest hour as a leader."
Wolf brought the same leadership and character to Fort Rucker when he took up the position as director of Army safety and commanding general of the USACR/Safety Center in October 2008.
During his time in leadership, the Army experienced a continuous drop in accidental fatalities and double-digit reductions in nearly all on-duty fatal accidents during 2011, said Troy, adding that the numbers amount to about 120 Soldiers' lives saved.
"[Wolf] is totally dedicated to protecting our Soldiers and doing what is best for our Army," he said. "The reason for this is because for Bill, safety isn't a job -- it's a passion."
That passion is what drove Wolf and allowed him to take part in what he called one of the greatest privileges he's had as a Soldier and a leader.
"I've traveled both near and far in this job and any time I've been near a major military medical center, I tried to take some time to visit our wounded warriors," he said. "Words can't express how proud I am of these amazing men and women. No matter the wounds they've suffered, they are all so very strong and inspiring in their strength and resilience."
Wolf didn't forget to recognize the most important person in his life, who he referred to as his rock, his strength, his best friend, his most severe critic and his pillar: his wife, Sandy.
"What more can I say than I love you," he said, adding that he is unsure what the future may hold for them, but knows they will face it together.
"If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing," Wolf said. "People are our Army and what I believe in foremost. I will forever be humbled to have had the privilege to work alongside this team of dedicated professionals -- the men and women whose singular mission is protecting our Soldiers."