SEMBACH, Germany – This November, Dave McCracken will bring to a close a career with the U.S. Army that began when he said, “I do” during his 1969 enlistment. He jokes that more than 50 years later his enlistment has “just drug on and on.”
McCracken completed three tours in Vietnam, spent “many, many moons” in Korea where he met his wife of 36 years and retired as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel Sergeant Major for 18th Medical Command, Korea.
Since 2016, he has been with Installation Management Command Europe and is currently the facility manager for the Workforce Development Center in Sembach. However, his civilian career spans back to the beginning of IMCOM when he was detailed to work with the fledgling Installation Management Agency in Korea.
He compares his time with IMCOM to a commercial with a child walking through freshly poured concrete. For him those footprints stretch from the beginning of IMA, not knowing if it was going to get off the ground in 2001, to today as he prepares to wrap up his career with the organization. “To me, it’s pretty amazing to see where we’re at,” he said.
Throughout it all, McCracken is quick to answer that his favorite part has been working with and mentoring others. At the Workforce Development Center, he uses his knowledge and expertise to help units and organizations plan and host events.
“IMCOM-Europe was supposed to provide a top-quality, first-class training and conference facility and that’s what we are,” he said. He said he especially enjoys working with the military units that come to him for events. “I help them make their mission successful – better than what they thought they were going to be able to do.”
As he transitions to retirement, McCracken said he and his wife plan to travel to visit family, but also plan to just spend time enjoying their new retirement home near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. And of course, as he said, “once a sergeant major, always a sergeant major.”
McCracken said he plans to stay involved with the military community and to continue to pass on his years of knowledge, expertise and experience.
“We just need to refocus and redesign how we present ourselves, but we should still be mentoring the younger generations that are coming. I believe I still have a lot to offer,” he said. “I should be able to take that and be grateful and turn it around and give it back.
“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to continue to live a dream that I had to be a part of what I think is one of the best organizations in the world,” McCracken said, reflecting on his career as a whole.