U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Donald E. ‘Ed’ Jackson was honored with a retirement ceremony Sept. 25 in Conmy Hall at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, after more than 34 years of active Army service.
Jackson served as Deputy The Inspector General (DTIG) from April 2018 until the day of the ceremony. Jackson was replaced as DTIG by Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker.
“I found my love of the military as a youth…read every book, watched every movie, and listened to the stories of relatives and family friends who had served. Once in the Army I fell in love with the incredible people, exciting missions, and unbelievable places and experiences,” Jackson said.
“Thirty-four years of service went by quickly. I have no regrets, and would do it all over again.”
Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, The Inspector General (TIG), presented Jackson with a Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his achievements as DTIG. Jackson’s wife, Lynne, received a Distinguished Public Service medal for her work with family Readiness Groups and Army Families over the course of her husband’s career.
“Ed Jackson took the role of Deputy and moved it to the next level. Not only did he allow me to focus on strategic efforts, he showed me and the remainder of the agency how to organize information to help DAIG (Department of the Army Inspector General) and our Army. We would not be as respected as an agency without Ed Jackson’s Leadership,” Smith said.
As Jackson recalled his tenure as DTIG, he described his greatest achievement as “Building a strong leadership team that helped establish systems and processes designed to encourage efficiency and ensure accountability. All of this improved both our credibility and productivity as an organization in support of TIG and the Army.”
Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Building Science and Management from Clemson University in 1986. He was commissioned as an Engineer officer through the Clemson ROTC program, where he was a Distinguished Military Graduate. He has served in numerous command and staff positions throughout his career.
Smith said, “I met Ed Jackson in 1995 while we were both captains. I knew there was something special about him then, and it has continued today. Ed’s passion, drive and focus on caring for people will leave a legacy that will be felt for years to come. We served together in combat, in critical overseas missions in Korea, and now in DAIG. Without a doubt he is the consummate leader and a man who has his priorities right on: God, his family, friends, then work. I am honored to call him a friend.”
Jackson reflected on his leadership philosophy and what he would tell a new lieutenant being commissioned today.
“Always do your best…be the expert at your job. Character matters. Lead by example and put the needs of others before your own. Build relationships of trust and confidence with your Soldiers and other key influencers,” he said.
Jackson’s colleagues recalled his easygoing style and concern for everyone around him.
“Despite the often sensitive subject, short suspense, and high-visibility nature of DTIG’s portfolio, he could best be described as ‘Cool hand Ed.’ Additionally, he never ended a conversation with anyone without saying, ‘Do I owe you anything.’ He is a true professional and sets the goal high for all who follow him, both as a teammate and a friend,” said Laura Jankovich, Director of Army Inspections.
Sgt. 1st Class William Johnson II, assigned to the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency (USAIGA) Records Screening and Oversight division, said, “Maj. Gen. Jackson is the epitome of a personable leader. Any time I had an interaction with Maj. Gen. Jackson, he made me feel like I was an important part of the agency. His demeanor is welcoming and his presence is thoughtful.”
Retired Col. Eric Zeeman, the former chief of the USAIGA Investigations division, said, “Maybe most importantly, he had a great sense of humor and the gift to put a smile on someone’s face just when needed–especially important in an IG environment. I am thankful for his personal counsel and the example he set for all of us as an Army senior leader.”
Jackson looks forward to his post-Army life. “Spend time with family—be the best husband, father, son, and brother I can be; pursue employment opportunities that include serving in the water resources/emergency response field; and find a way to share my experience, passion, and expertise in serving my church.”