On January 25, 2023, Futures and Concepts Center named conference room 4116 in honor of retired Gen. Donn Starry, to commemorate the work he did in his 40-year career in the United States Army.
Lt. Gen. Scott McKean, Futures and Concepts Center Director, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Futures Command, hosted the ceremony and presided over the presentation. Starry’s family was also in attendance.
“If there is any testament you can give a Soldier, it is the legacy he leaves behind,” said McKean. “We are all products of General Starry’s leadership. I’m proud to be a part of this moment.”
Starry was connected to the Army for his entire life, starting when he was four. His father fought in World War I and later joined the National Guard. Bringing his son, Donn, with him, the young Starry was made a brevet rank of first lieutenant in the Kansas National Guard by the governor, and in 1943 he joined the Army as a private. By June of the following year, he was discharged and selected to attend the Military Academy.
Starry married his high school sweetheart Leatrice Gibbs in 1947, spending over 60 years together and having four children.
Starry’s first tour was with the 63rd tank battalion, and he spent time in Germany. Starry would go on to Fort Knox, Korea, Germany, and Vietnam two times during the Vietnam conflict before taking command of V Corps and then the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in 1977.
Starry would stay in command of TRADOC for four years and spent his time working the evolution of the Army’s Air Land Battle Doctrine. When he left in 1981, becoming the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Readiness Command, he paved the way for the doctrine that would lead the Army in the 1980s and 1990s that was instrumental in defeating the Iraqi Army in 1991 during the Gulf War and in 2003 during the Iraq War.
“To be a four-star general and do the things General Starry did during his time in service is something I don’t think the rest of us can realize,” said McKean. “The times that he served Vietnam and then the post-Vietnam era, where he was charged with leading the Army as an institution during a tumultuous time in our history, it takes a special person to lead through those times.”
Many of Starry’s other initiatives, including development of multiple weapon systems, that are still around today. The M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle were both part of modernization initiatives that Starry oversaw while commanding general of TRADOC.
Starry passed away in 2011 and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. One year later, TRADOC building 661 was renamed “Starry Hall” in honor of the general who had done so much to modernize the doctrine and weapon systems of the Army.
In 2018 the Army undertook a massive shift and created the United States Army Futures Command (AFC) to lead the Army in transformation to provide future warfighters with the concepts, capabilities, and organizational structures they need to dominate a future battlefield. AFC continues Starry’s legacy of innovation and paving the way for new concepts to use on the battlefield. By renaming the conference room, FCC continues to honor the legacy of Gen. Donn Starry.