By Mr. Aaron D Meles (USACE)May 21, 2013
At an age when most people live their days at home, enjoying their family, their grandchildren, and the life they have created, Col. Philip Hoge, U.S. Army (retired) , has chosen a different path. At the age of 80, Col Hoge is currently working full time for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), spearheading the agency's long-term recovery efforts in response to Super Storm Sandy. When he's not being tasked by FEMA to handle federal emergency response, he acts as a consultant to a number of other federal agencies and private companies.
Hoge speaks proudly of his distinguished career in various government agencies, private industry, and the military, specifically as an Army engineer. The colonel considers his years with the Army Corps of Engineers as the height of his career, saying that the "Army Corps is like my second family, it will always have a special place in my heart."
Hoge rose through the ranks within the Corps, from battalion commander to brigade commander, and ultimately serving as the Inspector General for the Corps. "I'm not sure if most people realize this, but the Army Corps literally built this country, and I could not be prouder to have been part of such a mission," said Hoge.
He believes that the Corps is a living organism, and that while its mission and responsibility may continue to change, its relevance and importance does not. "The Corps may change over the year, and shift its focus, but it will remain an invaluable resource to the American people, that I can guarantee." Hoge said. The retired colonel spoke emotionally about his time as an Army engineer and how much he enjoyed interfacing with and commanding troops in the field. Mr. Hoge was offered the post of District Commander a number of times, but always turned it down. "I did not want a desk job, dealing with regulations and policy. I wanted to be out in the field commanding troops. That's where I belonged," he said.
Although Mr. Hoge officially retired in 1985, after 31 years of service to his country, he continues to do just that ---- serve his country.
"I retired in 1985 but very quickly got tired of being retired" he said.
Hoge enjoys working on large scale inter-agency assignments, and especially enjoys working with the younger generation, those who have just entered the federal work force. "I like being around young people, it makes me feel young," Hoge said jokingly.
Since retiring, Hoge has found ways to stay active in public service, especially at times when people with his experience are most needed ----- during natural disasters.
Hoge is working now as a consultant for FEMA's Long Term Recovery operations, bringing to the table half a century of experience and know how. Over the last decade, Hoge has completed a number of short-term consulting assignments with FEMA in Long Term Recovery activities. Hoge says all the traveling for FEMA keeps him young and on the ball. And so, when Super Storm Sandy pummeled the East Coast in late October of 2012, Hoge was asked to assist in the long term recovery efforts. He was tapped to help oversee the Joint Field Office in Lincroft, N.J., working hand in hand with staff from the Army Corps' North Atlantic Division and its Philadelphia District office.