ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- A Port Chester, N.Y. native recently retired from active duty after serving 31 years in the U.S. Army, 12 of those years served overseas.

Col. Joseph A. Tirone retired as Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, during a ceremony Nov. 19.

Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commanding general, JMC, presided over the ceremony. During the ceremony, Tirone was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster) for his lifetime of Army service and his wife, Paige, received awards for military and community support.

Tirone is the son of the late Rocco Tirone and Rosemary C. Tirone, of Port Chester. Tirone graduated from Port Chester High School in 1980.

Col. Tirone entered the U.S. Army Reserves on Sep. 22, 1982 and entered active duty military service in December of 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming and Masters degrees from Central Michigan University and the U.S. Air War College.

He is a graduate of the Ordnance Officers Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, Logistics Executive Development Course, Depot and Arsenal Executive Leadership Program and the U.S. Air War College.

He has held a number of special and conventional weapons leadership positions at the tactical, operational and strategic levels in U.S. and NATO units.

His leadership positions include Infantry Platoon leader, Commander of a multi-functional Field Artillery Battery; Commander of Savanna (Ill.) Army Depot, Commander of Lone Star (Texas) Army Ammunition Plant with responsibilities for Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (Parsons, Kans.) and Red River Munitions Center (Texarkana, Tex.) and Commander, Blue Grass Army Depot (Richmond, Ky.). He has planned and coordinated ammunition support for operations in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Kuwait City, Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations.

From November 2001 to June 2006, he deployed multiple times to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, Pakistan, Oman, Qatar and other locations in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

From 2005 to 2006, he was the senior forward deployed Ammunition Chief for Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and, in 2006, deployed to Beirut, Lebanon to train and assess units of the Lebanese Armed Forces.

From 2006 to 2007 he was assigned to the Pentagon as the Department of the Army G3 Operational and Training Munitions Chief.

In 2010, he was assigned to U.S. Army Europe as the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Support Operations Officer where he was responsible for providing Operational level logistics support for U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa units.

From 2012 to the present, Tirone has held the position of Joint Munitions Command Chief of Staff. He is responsible for providing guidance and strategic direction to more than 5,400 military/civilian employees with an annual budget of $450 million in order to support worldwide combat operations and training of U.S. Forces.

Tirone was able to sum up his time in the military.

"When I entered the Army in September of 1982, my father, Rocco and my Uncles (Johnny, Joe, Anthony, Pat) were all World War II veterans and my neighbor, Bill Farrell, was a former Marine," he said. "They were all a source of inspiration for me. I was also blessed to have some great military mentors, Maj. Gen. Wright (a.k.a. the Chicken Man); Lt. Gen. (Patricia) McQuistion, and Col. (Retired) Richard Pappalardo. Despite some hardships, over 31 years of Army service has been great for my family and I. My children got to grow up overseas and see the world while I felt that I was able to make a significant direct impact in supporting our great country. Many years ago a great General Officer once told me that '...what our country needs it cannot buy, it needs dedicated Soldiers and civilians who see service to their country as an affair of the heart.' That's the way it is with me and always will be. I thank God for everyday I was able to wear this uniform."

Colonel Tirone and his wife, Paige, have three sons: Nick (a Texas Police Officer), William (sophomore at University of Kentucky) and John, a junior at Pleasant Valley High School. They have two grandchildren, Brooklyn and Mason. He enjoys deer hunting and taking wounded Soldiers and handicapped children hunting. He will retire on Jan. 1, 2014.

From its headquarters here, JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.