By Bonnie HeaterMarch 5, 2009
Deputy garrison commander brings job experience
There's a new face on Fort Gordon. His name is John Curry and he is the deputy garrison commander. He replaced Terry Smith who retired in September 2008.
Prior to coming to the post in October 2008, Curry was the deputy garrison manager at Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill.
He is no stranger to Fort Gordon. He lived here in 1965 when his father was assigned to the military police. "My dad served in World War II and the Korean War and later he transferred and served in the Army Reserve," Curry said.
Although Curry was born in New York City he considers the small town of Sparta, New Jersey home. When my dad served in the reserves he would get us tickets every fall to the annual Army-Navy game and take us. I actually grew to feel at home at the academy, he said.
When it came time to select a college, he applied and was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Curry graduated with the class of 1977.
For the next 23 years he served in the Infantry Corps. It was while attending the advance infantry officer course in 1981 at Fort Benning, Ga., that he met his wife Kelly, from Columbus, Ga. They were married a year and half later.
The infantry officer's first permanent duty assignment was Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Later he returned to West Point to teach physical education.
During his career he also served at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and at Fort Drum, N.Y., where he spent five years with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
After Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in August 1992, the division deployed to assist in the recovery efforts. Members of the 10th Mountain troops set up relief camps; distributed food, clothing, and medical necessities as well as building supplies. They also helped rebuild homes and clear debris. Curry served as the brigade executive officer for command and control of two brigades for the 10th Mountain Division.
During 1993, the 10th Mountain Division deployed to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. When Task Force Ranger and the Search and Rescue team were pinned down during a raid in what later became known as the Battle of Mogadishu, 10th Mountain units provided infantry for the United Nations quick reaction force sent to rescue them. The 10th had two Soldiers killed in action in the fighting.
During 1993, the 10th Mountain Division deployed to Haiti. While in Haiti the 10th Mountain Division secured the palace and maintained the peace. "I served as the brigade executive officer for a period of four months, according to Curry. A framed aerial view of Base Camp Haiti is among the Army memorabilia displayed in Curry's office.
After completing his tour of duty with the 10th Mountain Division, Curry's next stop was Fort Wainwright in Alaska.
"My Family and I loved Alaska," said Curry. "We were involved in lots of outdoor sports, particularly fishing. "
In 2000, Curry retired from the Army at Fort Wainwright after completing a 10-year assignment there. He took over as the director of community activities for the U.S. Army Garrison, Alaska. In 2003 he received the Installation Management Command's Stalwart Award for extraordinary achievement as the director there.
The Stalwart award recognizes top performers - Soldiers or civilians who standout and exemplify the spirit of IMCOM, according to Thomas Fitzpatrick, director of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security at Fort Gordon. He received the IMCOM Stalwart Award in 2006.
My Family and I had planned on staying in Alaska, but I was offered an opportunity to attend the War College, he said. "I had to sign a mobility statement to attend the War College. The Army sent me to Rock Island, Ill.
"I have spent most of my Army career in cold areas," he said. "I am very thankful to be working at Fort Gordon.
"I am looking forward to assisting Col. [John] Holwick [garrison commander] in the development of local partnerships, fostering community relations and providing the best services and top notch facilities for our Soldiers, their Families and retirees," he added.
"My wife Kelly is also thrilled to be back in Georgia where her Family lives. As for my three sons, Josh, a University of Alaska alumnus, recently moved to Georgia. My middle son Mike is a professional hockey player with the Charleston [South Carolina] String Rays. He's a graduate of the University of Minnesota. My youngest, Nick, plays with the Springfield Junior Blues team. Hockey is the focus of our Family," Curry said.
My son Mike played with Matt Auffrey in Watertown, N.Y., when he was 8 years old," added Curry.
Curry's sons were persistent in getting their dad to join them on the ice rink. "I told them when I finally can wear a pair of your shoes I'll try it. My sons grew up. Recently, one of them handed me a pair of his shoes," Curry said. "They fit. I started playing hockey at age 45. I'm not very good at it, but I have played in an adult league for 2 years. It's hard to learn to skate at my age."
Besides playing hockey, Curry loves to water ski.