By Mr. Aaron D Meles (USACE)June 14, 2013
At an age when most people live their days at home, enjoying their family, their grandchildren, and the life they have created, Col. (Ret) Philip Hoge has chosen a different way to retire. At the age of 80, Col Hoge speaks proudly of his and his family's distinguished career in the military, various government agencies, and the private industry. While Col. Hoge has held numerous positions within different agencies and organizations during his career, he considers working for the Army Corps to be the high point of his career saying that the "Army Corps is like my second family, it will always have a special place in my heart."
Hoge says his family has been very much a part of everything he has accomplished. France and Col Hoge have been married 59 years -- together they have 4 children. Their second son, Paul passed away quite unexpectedly while working as a Project Manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District. They have 10 grandchildren -- One fighter pilot (Harrier) in US Marines carries on the military tradition and 3 great grandchildren.
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 went on to discuss how he believes that the Corps is a living organism, and that while its mission continues to change, its relevance and importance does not. "The Corps may change over the years, and shift its focus from one area to another, but it will remain an invaluable resource to the American people, that I can guarantee." Hoge said. Col Hoge feels that while the Army Corps is a military command, it differs greatly from the majority of other military commands given its civilian structure stating "the Corps is broken into more than 40 district offices all over the country. You have a workforce that really knows the geographic area that they are working in. I am not sure you see that in any other federal agency" said Hoge.
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 District Commander a number of times, but 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 at the rank of Colonel and 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" stated Hoge. 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.
Today, Hoge, as a FEMA Reservists works as a Federal Disaster Recovery Officer, 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 ESF-14 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 through the recently established National Disaster Recovery Framework as it is applied to Hurricane Sandy recovery. In light of Hurricane Sandy, Hoge was tapped to help oversee the recovery activities of all Federal agencies. In this effort he is working hand in hand with staff from the Army Corps North Atlantic Division and its Philadelphia District office.