WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 22, 2008) -- Claude M. Bolton Jr. formally left his position as assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology during a retirement ceremony Jan. 18 at the Pentagon.

Bolton held the position for six years, serving as the Army acquisition executive, the senior procurement executive, and the science advisor to the secretary of the Army. In every facet, Bolton focused on people, programs, production and improvement, nursing numerous programs from infancy through production and implementation on the battlefield.

"Today we say farewell to an extraordinary leader," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren during the retirement ceremony. "This room is filled with lives Claude has touched."

Geren reminded those in attendance of the millions of lives affected by Bolton's work. Through his leadership in acquisition, dozens of programs came to fruition. Bolton's leadership played a role in programs such as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, the Future Combat Systems and the Stryker Brigade.

Bolton had a 34-year career in the Air Force, including a position with Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, where he managed foreign military sales programs with totals exceeding $90 billion that supported more than 80 foreign countries. His decades of experience with military equipment, from flying the F-4 as a young officer, to acting as program officer for the advanced tactical fighter technologies program -- now the F-22A Raptor - made procuring quality materials for servicemembers personal.

At the retirement ceremony, Bolton relayed the story of why he decided to take the position as assistant secretary when it was offered. As an officer in Vietnam, Bolton lost seven fellow Airmen in his squadron, including his flight commander, because, according to Bolton, "we didn't have the best equipment."

He recalled numerous flights when they only had half of the ordnance they needed.

"As a young lieutenant, you don't understand why you can't get what you want...what you need," Bolton said.

Through his work as assistance secretary for the Army, he has had a direct impact on providing the best equipment and technology to the Soldiers fighting in the war on terror. Bolton said that the servicemembers on the ground were relying on those at the Pentagon to continue the progress of developing and providing better equipment, "so our adversaries understand not to mess with us."

Bolton's family was present at the ceremony, including his wife, Linda, and two daughters, Cynthia and Jennifer. Bolton presented his wife with a plaque, thanking her for her support and commitment throughout their marriage and his military and civilian career.

Bolton ended the retirement ceremony and his long career as a servicemember and Army civil servant with a call to action, reminding everyone present that their jobs were vital to the success of the mission and the safety of Soldiers, and asking that they "dedicate and rededicate" their abilities toward supporting the men and women who have given their lives.

Dean Popps is currently serving as acting assistant secretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.