ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — For five decades, Paul Woodhouse has worked diligently as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army. The 72-year-old was recently recognized for his dedication and received an award for his 50 years of service.
The Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics of the Joint Munitions Command, which is based at the Rock Island Arsenal, appreciates the fact others have noticed his longevity.
“It’s one day at a time. It’s been quite a while,” Woodhouse said. “I found challenging assignments in the Army and the change in the successive commands over the decades.”
When Woodhouse began his career in government, the Vietnam War was taking place. Woodhouse presumed he wouldn’t get drafted once he graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1972 and choosing the path he did was a way to give back.
“In 1973, I pulled No. 332 in the Selective Service lottery, so I was basically not going to be called into the draft,” Woodhouse said. “Along with the need to have a job and to try to contribute to what was going on at the time in the Vietnam engagement, I thought I’d do my thing for four years or so and see what else materialized in the meantime.”
Woodhouse found his calling, it turns out, and he’s not planning on retiring any time soon.
What advice does Woodhouse have for new civilian employees?
“Training and involvement,” he said. “Jump in, figure it out through communications with other people — get it done. Don’t expect a syllabus to be handed to you that says this is the path. There’s a lot of discovery that must go with any assignment.”
Woodhouse began working at the Ammunition Procurement and Supply Agency in Joliet, Illinois, in the summer of 1972 as an engineer intern.
His father, who worked as a safety engineer for the operating contractor of the facility, suggested Woodhouse should apply there, as it was close to his family’s home in Lockport, Illinois.
The following year, Woodhouse relocated to Rock Island when the Munitions Command merged with the Weapons Command to form the Armaments Command, and he served as a project engineer.
“I was working on modernization and expansion projects,” said Woodhouse, who has worked under every commander of each of ARMCOM’s realignments through its current successor, JMC.
Woodhouse ended up in the Lone Star State in 1974, where he served as project engineer at the Army Ammunition Plant in Texarkana, Texas.
Two years later, Woodhouse returned to Rock Island, and the move was a career developmental decision.
Woodhouse, who has held numerous assignments and performed a variety of roles on Arsenal Island, was named to his current position in 2014.
What does Woodhouse do?
The G-4 was created the same year Woodhouse was named its director, and what exactly does he have a hand in?
“We’re basically focused on property — personal property, general equipment and real property,” Woodhouse said of his department. “We try to help the installations maintain complete and accurate property records for the real property structures, land and the general equipment that they have.
“We also take care of Building 350 from the standpoint of routine and emergency maintenance work orders,” Woodhouse added. “We run consolidated supply provisioning for all of headquarters JMC in the building.”