ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – U.S. Army Col. Gavin Gardner, commander of Joint Munitions Command, was promoted to brigadier general during a promotion ceremony June 10.
Gen. Gustave “Gus” Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, hosted the ceremony at historic Quarters One on Rock Island Arsenal amid a limited number of family members, friends and distinguished visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Perna, under whom Gardner served multiple times throughout their military careers, highlighted Gardner’s leadership abilities and the manner in which he treats his Army teammates.
“People are ready to follow him anywhere,” Perna said. “Why? Because they trust him. They believe in him. He cares for them. He takes responsibility for people, for his Soldiers, for their families. He knows how to lead an organization to solve problems, not symptoms.”
A member of a third-generation Army Family, Gardner commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps in 1992. He attributed much of his success to his parents’ support.
“As Ralph Emerson stated, ‘the task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you.'" Gardner said. “I cannot think of a better quote that represents how I’ve attained this incredible responsibility to serve as a general officer. It really starts with the parents. For me, it’s my mother and father. Both have served as a role model for me in my life.”
He also recognized the invaluable service and encouragement of Lisa, his wife of 29 years, and their two sons, Bryce and Pierce.
“No one has taught me more about fortitude, care and patience then Lisa has,” Gardner said to his family. “Most importantly, I don’t forget about what you’ve done for me. I just want to say thank you and that I love you.”
Gen. Ed Daly, Army Materiel Command commanding general, attended the ceremony virtually. He spoke of his experience with Gardner.
“I first met Gavin when he was a major in the 4th Infantry Division in Colorado. I knew then he was destined to do great things and had general officer potential,” said Daly. “Gavin is an absolute super star. He’s a tremendous leader, trainer and Soldier who understands the Army from the tactical to the strategic level. He’s an expert logistician and a consummate professional, and I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with him in this great profession of arms. I look forward to watching him develop and serve in the years to come. He has an unbelievably bright future. Again, congratulations to Gavin, Lisa, Bryce and Pierce, as promotions are a family endeavor.”
Gardner graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and earned the honor of Distinguished Military Graduate. He also holds a Master’s of Science in Logistics Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a Master’s of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
Throughout his almost 30 years of service to the U.S. Army Gardner received various accolades including one Joint Meritorious Unit Award, one Valorous Unit Award, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Legion of Merit (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (6 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Wings.
At the ceremony’s closing, the Army’s newest general officer addressed those assembled online and in person.
“I take this responsibility with the utmost accountability,” Gardner said. I will serve those below me and those above me, and most importantly the greatest nation on Earth. God bless America. Ready, Reliable, Lethal. Army Strong!
Gardner assumed command at JMC on June 11, 2020, leading a dedicated team of professionals responsible for providing munitions to warfighters. JMC and its 17 subordinate depots, arsenals and ammunition plants ship, store, demilitarize and produce all conventional ammunition and explosives for the U.S. Armed Forces, ensuring troops have quality munitions wherever and whenever needed. JMC is responsible for producing more than 900 million rounds of ammunition annually and manages $59 billion of munitions and missiles.