While attending University of Southern Mississippi, Carlen Chestang decided to add Army ROTC as one of his classes, which eventually led to a 30-year career.
Chestang, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command G-1 director, retired from the Army in 2014 as a colonel.
“After the first semester, I liked the teamwork and leadership that the instructors taught to all the cadets,” said Chestang. “After a few semesters, the Army became a part of my everyday life. Plus, my father was drafted and served in the Korean War. I wanted to ensure I served as well.”
When Chestang was commissioned in the as an Army second lieutenant, May 12, 1984, he was a field artillery officer. In 1988, he was branch-transferred as a signal officer and, finally, in 2001 he was transferred to the adjutant general branch.
Throughout his 30-year career span, Chestang served in the Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region, and the U. S. Army Military District of Washington in the nation’s capital; U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida; 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and U.S. Army Materiel Command AMCOM at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
With so many different assignments, it can be hard to single out high points. A few came to mind.
“While assigned as the deputy chief of staff, J/G1, Joint Force Headquarters – National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington, I planned, coordinated and executed the 24th, 25th and 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler,” said Chestang. “The race is a non-appropriated funds operation, in which a record was set at the 26th race where $1.65M was generated in a 35-hour period by selling 30,000 race entries. I also tracked over 22,000 participants as part of the 56th presidential inauguration.”
“Also, while assigned as the deputy J-1, U. S. Southern Command, I served as the command technical authority for interpretation of personnel regulations and policy guidance emanating from higher authority, resolved personnel issues and provided oversight of human resources management for four subordinate joint task forces and 26 security assistance organizations in 30 countries.”
Chestang stated he’s had great leaders and coworkers throughout his entire career and that every job he has held prepared him for where he serves today. Chestang is glad he is able to continue service as a civilian employee who still supports service members.
“Some days I feel that I am still in the uniform,” said Chestang. “It’s about taking care of the people.”