The Luns Theater at NATO Headquarters in Brussels was filled with distinguished guests, family members and all who wanted to honor Lt. Gen. David R. Hogg at his retirement ceremony Sept. 15.
Hogg, the U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee, will officially retire Dec. 1 after 34 years of military service.
"He has been in great units which have done great things but that really doesn't tell you who Dave is," said Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander of U.S. European Command. "I am happy to tell you, first and foremost, that Dave is an Air Force brat. His dad was a Strategic Air Command pilot in Vietnam, and Dave wanted to join the Air Force to be a pilot himself."
Because of a small problem with his eyes, Hogg thought about an education at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut, and considered the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. However, when it came right down to it, like any other teenage boy, he ignored his father's advice and decided to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
"At West Point, he carefully weighed his options and ended on a big, loud, heavy machine with a giant gun. Armor was the perfect fit for Dave," Breedlove said. "He excelled there in every assignment the Army has given him for 34 years."
Hogg stood out as a trainer. He trained Army, joint and multinational forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a NATO officer assigned to NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, he trained Afghan forces. He also spearheaded Army efforts to conduct the first real training for African forces.
"He has trained people in the Army, Joint Alliance and multinational arena and excelled in each one of them," Breedlove said. "We have better trained men and women for what Dave has done."
Hogg's first combat experience was as a new brigade commander in Iraq. He led his Soldiers in an extremely tough environment. He commanded in combat even as his own son was serving in the same combat zone.
His second combat tour was in Afghanistan, working to develop Afghan security forces.
"Dave fought for his country where his country asked him to go, and he excelled as a warrior. Dave is a leader, and, in every assignment, he led his people with confidence, and he has taken care of them. He always took the time and the effort to ensure that his people were resourced and prepared for success."
During his speech, Hogg said that commanding troops in combat was the highlight of his career and probably of his life.
As the U.S. Military representative to the NATO Military Committee, Hogg has been a leader within the Alliance and U.S. government and was instrumental in achieving consensus while preserving U.S. military interests.
In recognition of his extraordinary meritorious service, Hogg was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
Hogg and his wife, Martina, will retire to Kansas.