By T. Anthony BellApril 18, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (April 18, 2013) -- Speaking at his promotion ceremony Friday that drew about 200 guests, Brig. Gen. Edward M. Daly relayed an oft-told account about the late Yankees baseball great Joe DiMaggio:
"As the story goes, late in the game DiMaggio dove for a ball in the outfield, although the Yankees were up by probably 10 runs. The game meant absolutely nothing. After the game, the media surrounded his locker and was talking to him. Mickey Mantle was in earshot, and they said, 'Joe, you're a lock for the hall of fame; a 56-game hitting streak;' and at that point in time he had hit more homeruns than he had struck out in the major leagues. 'Why in a million years would you jeopardize your health or risk injury and dive for a ball?'"
"He (DiMaggio) said, 'Because somebody may not ever get a chance to see me play again, and I want to show them the right way to play the game.'"
The Chief of Ordnance then made his point to the Ball Auditorium audience.
"This accolade and promotion makes me want to strive even more each and every day to do my best and set the example for those who wear this uniform and serve in what I would consider as the noblest of professions."
According to others who spoke on his behalf at the event, striving to exceed the requirements is second nature for the Jersey City, N.J., native, West Point graduate and son of a career police officer. Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, said he witnessed firsthand Daly's commitment to the ideals of teamwork, cohesion and mission accomplishment.
"If I could sum up Ed in two words, it would be selfless service," said the installation's senior mission commander and Daly's boss. Then, as he often does when referring to top-notch professional Soldiers in the career field, he said Daly "is a true war-fighter logistician who would give the shirt off of his back and boots off his feet to support the fight."
Wyche went on to praise Daly for his "innate ability" to engage all ranks with the same level of commitment, working within the framework of supporting people and missions.
"I have never seen in my time in the Army someone who is completely focused on the team," he said.
After much praise for Daly's work, Wyche lightened the mood when he said he didn't want Daly "to get the big head" and called to the stage the colonel and his wife, Cathy, to present her with an honorary certificate of promotion to major general.
"We don't want to leave doubt in anyone's mind who is in charge," Wyche said as audience members laughed and chuckled.
The comedy would continue in a big way with the next speaker, Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein, commanding general, 1st Sustainment Support Command at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and Daly's future commander. Using old images of Daly that were displayed on a large screen, Stein's speech was more like a roast than a traditional promotion ceremony as he poked lighthearted fun at everything from Daly's mullet haircut to his high school exploits.
Daly's mother, sister and other family members responded positively to Stein's comedic take as well as Daly himself, who was seen dabbing his eyes from bouts of continuous laughter.
After roughly 20 minutes of ribbing directed at the future general, Stein turned serious, discussed Daly's numerous qualities and expressed how deserving he was of the forthcoming honor.
"We selected the absolute right person to become general in the best Army in our world," he said. "Ed's promotion to brigadier general is a testament to his personal drive, his commitment and his overall dedication."
For the formal pinning, Daly was joined on stage by his mother, sister, wife and three children. Stein and Cathy Daly pinned the one-star shoulder boards on the new general. A number of formalities followed. Among them was the oath of office administered by retired Lt. Gen. Mitchell H. Stevenson, a former Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army G-4, and commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command.
For all that was said before him, Daly thanked those who showed their presence, to include his immediate family and a host of relatives and friends who travelled in from his hometown, and all of those who've made contributions to his career along the way.
In finishing his story about DiMaggio, Daly said it's a timeless tale because the hall of famer's actions on and off the field earned him the respect and admiration of generations.
"It highlights setting the example and legacy," said Daly in his remarks. "I've come to realize at my age that legacy is about teaching, coaching and training those who follow in our footsteps, and there is no greater honor than to lead and train Soldiers."
Daly is scheduled to relinquish command and deploy to Afghanistan sometime during the coming months.