REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (May 19, 2014) -- Col. Jeff Mockensturm, deputy director of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, retired Thursday, concluding 29 years of active military service.

Planning his retirement speech, Mockensturm said that he spent a lot of time reflecting upon what it means to be in the Army.

"You get to a certain point and they tell you -- you're not in the Army; you are the Army. That's the difference between us and the new recruits. We kind of make the Army what it is."

For Mockensturm, it all began in 1985 with his commissioning as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps from the University of Toledo ROTC program. His varied assignments included fielding readiness operations in the Hellfire Project Office, executive officer in prior organizational constructs that eventually became PEO Missiles and Space, and advanced technology coordinator at the Army Research Office.

He served as assistant product manager and later as product manager for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Radar. He was a program analyst at the Pentagon for the Program Analysis and Evaluation Directorate, Office of the Chief of Staff. He also served as PM for Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems, Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

Mockensturm held several overseas duty assignments in Korea, Germany and Iraq. In 2012 he served as the science and technology project coordinator, acquisition adviser for the commander of U.S forces in Afghanistan.

Mockensturm's final duty station was as the military deputy to the director of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. Speaking at the retirement ceremony, acting AMRDEC director James Lackey credited Mockensturm's leadership during a time of transition.

"(He was) someone who helped drive discipline and standards when it was in need," Lackey said. "Jeff can be credited by helping turn the tide for us as an organization, helping us to create ourselves more as a holistic enterprise, internal and external cooperation across the board."

Lackey also took time to appreciate the colonel's dry sense of humor and straight talk.

"Our days are too busy, our times are too short, to fiddle with the obtuse, forever ponder the indirect, interpret the ambiguous, and endlessly juggle with indecision. Jeff was none of that. I can always thank you for that, sir. We are aligned in thought processes: getting the job done, action focused and getting to the bottom line," Lackey said.

Through the years, Mockensturm was stationed at Redstone Arsenal several times. It was during his first assignment here, in 1988, that he met and married Alice, his wife of almost 25 years. Mockensturm found it fitting, therefore, to retire and settle his family in their "forever home" in the Huntsville area. He plans to return to Team Redstone later this summer as a partner in industry.

"AMRDEC is the greatest technological workforce that I have ever seen," Mockensturm said. "And it is matched only by the other fantastic workforces here in the Huntsville community -- NASA, AMCOM, Missile Defense Agency, SMDC and so forth -- our partners. What a fantastic community this is."

Mockensturm has a bachelor's in computer science engineering from the University of Toledo, and a master's in systems management from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff Officer's Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and has completed the Army War College Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin.

His awards and decorations include multiple Army and Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Army and Joint Service Commendation Medals, and Army and Joint Service Achievement Medals.

In his closing remarks, Mockensturm asked the audience to remember those Soldiers that have paid the ultimate price in support of our nation.

"I just ask that you continue to pray for the troops whose last day in the Army was not in an auditorium in front of a podium, but was in a battlefield somewhere, and did not get the same opportunity to say goodbye that you've given me. Keep those Soldiers and their families in your prayers," he concluded. "Army strong."


AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.