PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's Enterprise and Systems Integration Center parted ways with its executive director in a retirement ceremony at the installation Oct. 2.

Patrick A. Serao, a member of the Senior Executive Service, left behind a legacy in a career culminating over 40 years of service to the Department of Defense.

During his career Serao held various engineering, supervisory and senior management positions in ARDEC, the program executive offices and the office of the Project Manager for Combat Ammunition Systems.

In January 2004, Serao was appointed to the SES level, but it was not until October 2007 that he began his most recent duty as the executive director of ESIC.

As if to show support that Serao's career was a family affair, four of Serao's five children and their spouses, along with some of his grandchildren were in attendance as well as his parents, his wife Elaine and her mother.

During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Fred D. Robinson Jr., commanding general of the Research, Development and Engineering Command, recognized the Serao family's contributions saying, "We, all Americans, owe this family a debt of gratitude for over 40 years of service."

Robinson told spectators that Serao began work on the recently released global positioning system-guided Excalibur round more than 15 years ago.

"He somehow had the insight that this type of system would be needed in the future," Robinson said.

Robinson added "Last year there was a request from the field for this type of system. If it were not for Pat's insight, this project would have taken years. He has allowed Soldiers to save lives and to increase competency."

Serao, who began his career in 1968, warmed the crowd by opening his remarks with an adaptation of a quote from the Bob Seger song Aca,!A"Like a RockAca,!A?: Aca,!A"Forty years whereAca,!a,,cd you go' Forty years, I donAca,!a,,ct know.Aca,!A?

During the ceremony, Serao thanked a list of individuals, but no gratitude was more heartfelt than when he asked his wife to come on stage and he presented her with a diamond necklace.

He added that "I don't have enough time to thank 40 years of individuals, but you know who you are."

To truly understand the impact that Serao had on both the installation and the Army, one would have to read his biography. In short, Serao has truly done it all, said Robinson.

From implementing Lean Six Sigma management philosophies to systems acquisition, Serao did it all for the customer - the American Soldier.

Serao's contributions led to the production and fielding of more than 30,000 Gunner Protection Kits to American Soldiers.

Of his greatest accomplishments, Serao talked about receiving a letter from a Soldier who thanked him and his staff for the GPK and for saving the Soldier's life.

On receiving the thank-you note Serao said, "It doesn't get any better than that."

Before closing out the ceremony and writing the final chapter in the book of a 40-year career, Serao stood tall and recited the Army Creed and said that he was proud to be part of such a fine organization.