ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- A Senior Executive Service leader, Melanie A. Johnson, retired as the deputy to the commander, Joint Munitions Command, during an official ceremony held on Feb. 1, after serving more than 36 dedicated years in the Department of Defense.

Brig. Gen. Heidi J. Hoyle, commander, Joint Munitions Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka N. O'Neal, served as the official retirement ceremony hosts. Johnson was presented with her retirement certificate and recognized for her efforts during her career with the Army. Her husband, Tim Johnson, was also recognized for his support to her federal career. To conclude the ceremony, Johnson furled her SES flag to represent her formal retirement.

Hoyle spoke of Johnson's leadership by example, and how she trained teammates from experience to take care of Soldiers and Civilians. "It's those folks that you have trained that will continue to lead your legacy as you move into retirement and will keep the Army moving forward on a daily basis."

In the civil service of the United States government, the SES is a position classification which is the equivalent to a general officer in the United States Armed Forces. In her position, she was the senior Civilian within the Joint Munitions Command, which sustains, produces, stores, issues, and demilitarizes conventional ammunition for all U.S. military services.

Johnson began her federal career following early graduation from high school in 1981 as a GS-2, Clerk Typist. During her remarks, Johnson reminisced about the many Army assignments and spoke of her contracting and logistics experiences.

"Although not a Soldier, I feel as if I have served in the Army," said Johnson. "And even with the challenges I have faced, the good outweighs the bad and the Army has been very good to me and my family."

"I want to thank my family and friends for attending and sharing this special day with me, some of you I have known a lifetime. I especially want to thank my husband, Tim, for which I would not be standing here today. He graciously gave up his career for me to pursue mine."

"I am proud to have served with all you," Johnson said to the workforce. "So this is a so long, and not a good bye."

Prior to her JMC assignment, Johnson served as the Executive Director and Principal Assistant responsible for Contracting for the Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, a major contracting center of the U.S. Army Contracting Command. She served as the center's senior civilian procurement authority, supporting the total contracting requirements of diverse customers throughout the Army.

"You have had a long and illustrious career her at Rock Island Arsenal," added Hoyle. "This ceremony is one way we hope to express our gratitude and appreciation to you. On behalf of the Joint Munitions Command, Army Materiel Command, the Army and the Nation, thank you for your leadership, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage which you've maintained throughout your career. Thank you for leading the way."

Johnson is a native of East Moline, Illinois and graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor of art degree in Liberal Arts. She also earned a master's in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. She is an Army Acquisition Corps member, Level III certified in contracting, and Level I certified in program management. She completed the Army Senior Executive Education Program, basic and intermediate courses; the Army Force Integration course and the Department of Defense Senior Executive Service APEX 40 course. Johnson is also the recipient of the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe Award and a Commander's Award for Civilian Service.

Following the formal retirement ceremony, a receiving line was held at which family, friends, co-workers, community members and fellow Department of Defense officials congratulated Ms. Johnson and her family. A dinner was also held later in the evening to honor her retirement.