By John H. SatterwhiteDecember 14, 2010
FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (Dec.13, 2010) - After more than four years as Deputy Chief of Staff G-1 for the Army's largest Command, Brig. Gen. E. Eric Porter retired today during a ceremony at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) headquarters here.
Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of FORSCOM, hosted the ceremony that was held in the G-1 Atrium of the headquarters.
"It is a true honor for me to host this event today," said Thurman. "Today we recognize an exceptional leader who has given more than 32 years of selfless service to this great nation ... and (we) thank him for his unwavering commitment and steadfast dedication to our Army."
A native of Columbus, Ga., and raised in Columbia, S.C., Porter's final assignment of his more than three decades long career put him in the right place to provide for the personnel and family readiness of units that report to FORSCOM. Hundreds of thousands of Soldiers nationwide were impacted by the policies, decisions and actions of Porter and his G-1 team.
Put another way, Porter's actions touched about 75 percent of the Army, during his tenure at FORSCOM. He ensured proper staffing of units, while protecting and sustaining Soldiers, Army civilians and their families. The result of his actions as part of the overall FORSCOM team helped enable combatant commanders worldwide (including Afghanistan and Iraq) to accomplish their missions, while preserving the nation's all volunteer force.
During the ceremony, Thurman presented Porter with several retirement awards and certificates to commemorate his years of service. Among the documents presented to Porter were personal congratulations from President Barack Obama, Army Secretary John M. McHugh, and Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
"I've never believed a retirement speech should be a last resort at imparting wisdom, or philosophy, or a last golden nugget," said Porter. Instead, "I believe this is the time to thank family, friends, mentors and comrades you served with along the way. They are the ones that made you who you are," Porter said.
During an interview before the ceremony, Porter was asked if there are things he thinks can be improved for Soldiers in the future. "We have to get more dwell time for Soldiers," said Porter. Dwell time is the time spent back at home station between deployments.
"(Many of) our Soldiers are going on their third and fourth deployments, and I don't know how they do it," said Porter. "When you talk to them, they're tough, (and) they're ready to go." Despite the willingness of the Soldiers to deploy and complete the mission, Porter said they still really need "more dwell time between those deployments to get them Reset."
Soldiers need time "to focus on spiritual balance, physical balance and family balance," he said.
Reflecting on the "state" of the Army today compared to when he first donned his uniform, Porter said, "I really feel very positive about the Army; it is more powerful, more lethal, more strategically responsive and a lot more combat experienced (today)."
"It really has been a great career; I was one of those officers who joined the Army for only three years. (Then), I was going to get out and join the corporate world," he said. "Here I am 32 years later preparing to retire and enter another career."
Porter began his Army career in 1978 when he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps via the Reserve Officer Training Corps upon graduation from Presbyterian College.
His assignments included:
- Chief, Personnel Actions, and Chief, Personnel Records Division, U.S. Army Regional Personnel Center, 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized), U.S. Army and Seventh Army, Germany;
- Chief, Personnel Actions/Affairs Division; Adjutant General, Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, N.C.;
- Commander and later Chief, Personnel Management Branch and later Strength Management Division, 82d Adjutant General Company, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg;
- Adjutant General Lieutenant Assignment Officer and Adjutant General Captain Assignment Officer, U.S. Army Personnel Command, Washington, DC;
- Adjutant and later Commander, Personnel Services Troop, Special Forces Operations Detachment, Delta Force, Fort Bragg;
- Chief, Strength Management Branch, later Deputy Adjutant General, 1st Personnel Group, Fort Lewis, Washington;
- Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg;
- Commander, 18th Personnel Services Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg;
- Secretary of the Joint Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida;
- Commander, 8th Personnel Command, Eighth U.S. Army, U.S. Forces Korea;
- Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, Washington, DC;
- Director, Chief of Staff Coordination Group, Office of the Chief of Staff, Army, Washington, DC;
- Special Assistant to the Commanding General, Combined Forces Land Component Command, Kuwait;
- The 62nd Adjutant General of the Army.
His military education included the Adjutant General Officer Basic Course, Adjutant General Officer Advanced Course, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Naval War College.
Porter also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
His military awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Master Parachutist Badge.