REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Members of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command bade adieu to a leader who served the Army in and out of uniform for 36 years during a retirement ceremony Feb. 24.

Dr. Steven L. Messervy, deputy to the commanding general of USASMDC/ARSTRAT, came to the command in November 2008 as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the position of deputy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

"I am proud of what we have accomplished together here at SMDC," Messervy said. "We have shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears working on systems that are designed to protect our troops. As I move on to the next thing, I will always be thankful for the time I spent here."

Messervy came to SMDC from his position as general manager of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Agency based in Huntsville.

While at SMDC, Messervy has been at the forefront of the command's mission to provide trained and ready space and missile defense capabilities, build future space and missile defense forces and research, test, and integrate space, missile defense, directed energy, and related technologies.

"We have accomplished many things here at SMDC," Messervy said. "The people here are doing great things to protect our Soldiers and our nation as a whole. SMDC is continuing a tradition of excellence and the future looks bright."

SMDC's top leader spoke about what Messervy has meant to the Army and especially to the command.

"Dr. Messervy has served his country in and out of uniform for 36 years," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, SMDC commanding general. "He has brought operational, leadership, management, and acquisition skills to this command, which he has served for three years. He has served the command well as the deputy -- as our senior civilian -- and as our senior acquisition officer.

"The command is all about providing capabilities to the military and developing a workforce of public servants," he added. "Dr. Messervy has been central to both of those efforts."

Formica also talked about what kind of impact Messervy's retirement will have on SMDC.

"His retirement will change the senior leadership and the command," Formica said. "We have recently streamlined the command. We've just changed the chief of staff and we tragically lost Mr. George Snyder. The combination of these four changes will impact the senior leadership and the command.

"The replacement process has begun -- I'm confident we'll find someone with the right leadership, management, operational, and technical qualifications to assume the role of deputy," he added. "But we'll miss Steve's steady leadership and broad operational and technical experience."

Formica mentioned Messervy's leadership and how he led by example in all that he did. The general also wished him well in his future endeavors and thanked him for all of his contributions to make SMDC a better place.

"Dr. Messervy transitioned his position from deputy for Research, Development and Acquisition to the realigned position of deputy to the CG," Formica said. "He established the position, and he has laid the professional groundwork for his successor to contribute in that capacity. Steve has been a great part of the senior leadership and the command for both Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell and for me.

"He has been a valued member of Team Redstone. And he is an active contributor to the greater Huntsville community," he added. "We will miss Donna and him in the command but we look forward to their continued contributions to Team Redstone and to the community."

Messervy has more than 30 years experience in the research, development and acquisition business. He served in both major command staff and project offices at both the U.S. Army Missile Command and the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command. His project office experience was with the U.S. Army Missile Command, Program Executive Office-Air and Missile Defense, and the PEO-Aviation.

His experience spans aviation, tactical missile and unmanned aerial systems, electronic/communications, missile defense, space, and strategic defense laser, missile and other technology programs such as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, Patriot Advanced Capability 3, X-Band Radar and others.

"No matter what I have done, designing and fielding systems that protect our troops makes it all worthwhile," Messervy said. "I remember when a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot came up to me after a deployment and told me how a system we fielded saved him from the certain doom of a missile. He said he saw the missile coming at him and there was nothing he could do to avoid it. He then noticed as the missile got closer it wiggled a little then veered off.

"That pilot came up to us and shook our hands to thank us for saving his life," he added. "That makes everything I have done worth it."

Taking after his father, Lavon, who was a Pershing missile officer and served in Huntsville, Germany and other duty stations, Messervy served in the Army Reserves for 30 years and retired as a colonel in 2008.

While serving and deploying with Soldiers, Messervy said his time in the field helped him better understand what the troops needed and went through when he returned to his "real" job.

"Being in the Reserves was very complementary because of my direct dealings with the Soldiers and then working on the operational side of the Army was very helpful," Messervy said. "From an operational perspective, in this command we have more than 850 Soldiers deployed all over the world, so we are an operational command and I have at least one "green leg" to stand on and understand how operations work. That to me has been very beneficial and I have always been able to connect with our Soldiers."

As Messervy and his wife of 38 years, Donna, prepare to take the next step in their journey, he said how a supportive family made his career more enjoyable and that he could not have accomplished what he did without his wife and children.

"It really takes a good partner in life to do this," Messervy said. "If you are going to travel and deploy, there is always someone who has to pick up the slack and do more. I have been very lucky to have a very supportive family."

Messervy took time to talk about the friends and colleagues he has worked with throughout the years and how they will never be forgotten.

"One of the things that really stand out a lot for me is the opportunity I've had to work with a lot of super people," Messervy said. "Pretty much all of my experiences at Redstone Arsenal have been great because of the people who have stepped up and done the work.

"And here at SMDC especially, I will miss working with some real world-class folks," he added. "We have some really good people here, doing some pretty awesome things on a daily basis."