FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico - Hundreds of Soldiers, civilians and family members from different branches of the U.S. armed forces in Puerto Rico gathered at Fort Buchanan, March 14 to witness the historic dedication of an Armed Forces Reserve Center after a living person, in honor to retired Maj. Gen. Felix A. Santoni, whose distinguished career spans more than five decades.Military structures are normally named after deceased persons, who have made important contributions to an organization, but in recent years John McHugh, secretary of the Army, granted an exception to that rule.Brig. Gen. Jose R. Burgos, 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico commanding general, hosted the dedication ceremony."Today, as we dedicate this modern structure to Maj. Gen. retired Felix A. Santoni, we all recognize his lifelong commitment to the well-being and readiness of our troops, always seeking the best resources and facilities that enable our Soldiers to successfully accomplish their mission," said Burgos during his opening remarks."Thanks to Maj. Gen. Santoni's resolute support and tireless efforts, the U.S. Army Reserve forces in Puerto Rico have become an essential part of the total force, with streamlined deployable troops and citizen-Soldiers, who embody the warrior mindset and spirit," added Burgos, who is also the senior U.S. Army officer in the Caribbean.The keynote speaker for the event was retired Gen. George A. Joulwan, former supreme commander, Allied Forces Europe, who was Santoni's supervisor and mentor."May the dedication of this building on Santoni's name be a reminder of the great work he has done and continues to do for the people of Puerto Rico and for the troops, as a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army. Clearly, this building will be a lasting tribute to a great son of Puerto Rico. Well done Felix. I am proud to call you my friend," said Joulwan.Puerto Rico's resident commissioner in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, also attended the ceremony."Santoni is the true figure and a living example of the quality of men that our beautiful island had produced to serve our nation. On behalf of all the Puerto Rican-American citizens, whom I proudly represent, I thank the U.S. armed forces for honoring Maj. Gen. Santoni in this way. He truly deserves it," said Pierluisi, who also presented a special congressional recognition to the retired general.Meanwhile, Santoni was grateful while addressing the audience."This coming June, I will have served our military for almost 40 years as a Soldier and almost 13 years as a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army. There is no doubt that these have been wonderful years, during which I was able to serve the U.S. Army and Puerto Rico from honorable positions, always giving my very best," said an emotional Santoni, minutes before revealing a bronze plaque with his image.Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Santoni entered the service at Fort Lee, Virginia, in 1955. During his military career, he served in many important positions in the active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve, to include commander of the U.S. Reserve Forces, Puerto Rico and chief for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) with headquarters at Quarry Heights, Panama.Since retirement in 1995, Santoni has continued his commitment and service to our nation, as the senior civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Puerto Rico.The Major General Felix A. Santoni building represents an investment of over $21 million into the local economy. With over 72,000 square feet, the modern structure created 625 temporary jobs and currently houses units from the U.S. Marines Reserves, the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico.This building is part of a larger modernization of the U.S. Army Reserve facilities across Puerto Rico, to include new Reserve centers in Mayaguez, Aguadilla, Ceiba and Juana Diaz, totaling approximately $90 million of investment in the local economy.The Army Reserve constitutes the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean region. It has approximately 5,000 troops assigned and approximately 300 civilian employees.