Army's longest serving active employee retires after 69 years of service

By Margaret Compton, TACOM LCMC Public AffairsNovember 4, 2011

John Bruce Jr.
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
usa image
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
usa image
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
usa image
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
usa image
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

At a time when most people are looking forward to their retirement, usually in their 60s, John Bruce Jr. was just hitting his stride. Now in his 90s, Bruce has finally decided it's time.

The TACOM Life Cycle Management Command held a ceremony November 3 to commemorate Bruce's 69 years of service to the U.S. Army.

Command leaders as well as state, federal and local officials were on hand to share in the memories of a long and distinguished career. Martin Green, acting Director of Acquisition hosted the event and remarked that Bruce's service to the nation and his career exemplifies the Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

In keeping with Bruce's proud Scottish heritage and to the delight of the audience, a bagpiper from the Saint Andrews Scottish Pipe Band played John's favorite music.

John Bruce began his service to the Army in 1942 in World War II as a member of the Army Signal Corps stationed in the South Pacific as an intercept operator. Honorably discharged in 1946, he began his civilian career at the Detroit Arsenal as a Cost/Price Analyst.

Except for a short time in 1946 when TACOM was headquartered in Detroit, Mich., Bruce spent most of his 69 year career at the Warren location and about six years at the missile plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. He served under the leadership of 24 TACOM Commanding Generals.

As a graduate of UCLA (he holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration), Bruce was a natural fit when he came to work at the command and started in resource management. Since then he has held various positions including Chief of Payroll, Chief of Financial Accounting, and Chief of Audit Branch culminating with an appointment as Deputy Comptroller. In 1954 he was promoted to Chief of the Detroit Arsenal Procurement Office.

Bruce began his career as a GS 8 and achieved the highest grade level at GS 15. For the past 60 plus years, Bruce has been TACOM's acquisition and contracting 'go to guy,' for virtually every vehicle and weapon system developed and managed in Warren. He has influenced and mentored a complete generation of acquisition professionals, both civilian and military. Many of the associates he trained have obtained positions throughout the Department of Defense. He is highly regarded for his professionalism and teamwork.

It's hard to imagine working as long as Bruce has, but he has always loved what he does and the multitude of awards he has received throughout his career are an indication of his passion for Army service.

His awards include the 1975 Secretary of the Army Award for outstanding achievement in material acquisition (Knox award), 1983 Commanders Award for exceptional Civilian Service, 1990 Meritorious Civilian Service Award, 1991 Achievement Medal for superior Civilian Service, 1992 Superior Civilian Service Award, 1999 Commander's Award for Civilian Service, 2002 Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Service as well as numerous Commanders Coins and Certificates.

Bruce was overwhelmed with the standing room only celebration, and the thunderous applause of appreciation. He thanked everyone for coming. "I'd like to leave you with a few lessons I've learned over the years, and that is, you only get out of a position what you put into it. And maybe the good old times were good in their time, but we can never do things the same way today as we did back then. Too much has changed, and for the better sometimes."