By Jon Connor, ASC Public AffairsOctober 16, 2012
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- After going through a retirement in the civilian world just two years ago, an Army Sustainment Command general officer will now end his military career that has spanned five decades beginning in 1973.
Brig. Gen. Steven J. Feldmann said goodbye to the Army Sustainment Command during a crisp, clear autumn afternoon retirement ceremony here on Memorial Field. His service to ASC began October 2002, eventually rising to the command's deputy commanding general for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs.
In October 2010, he also retired as a lieutenant from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, police department.
Brig. Gen. John F. Wharton, commanding general, ASC, hosted the ceremony and described Feldmann as a true "Iowa farm boy."
Wharton told attendees that Feldmann was raised on a farm near the small town of Hopkinton, located between Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, with a population of about 700. It was there where Feldmann learned the value of hard work and "honesty, integrity, and respect of others."
Citing such assignments as in Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan, Wharton said "…you've always taken the hard assignments … we could always count on you to complete the mission."
During the ceremony, Wharton presented Feldmann with his retirement award -- the Distinguished Service Medal, certificate of retirement, Army "Retired" lapel pin, presidential certificate of appreciation, the one-star general officer flag, and a folded U.S. flag.
His retirement award read in part: "Brigadier General Feldmann's actions were crucial to providing wartime support to America's Soldiers and transforming his command into a cutting-edge organization postured for the future. His decisive, forward-thinking, caring and balanced leadership have been truly remarkable. Throughout his lengthy career, Brigadier General Feldmann consistently demonstrated superior leadership characteristics and rock solid ethical standards which clearly set him apart from his peers…"
Jane Feldmann, whom Feldmann described as "the love of my life," received two Department of the Army Certificates of Appreciation, and Army "Brat" Certificates of Appreciation were given to their children -- Lynsey, Staff Sgt. Adam Feldmann, a recruiter for the Iowa National Guard, and Nathan.
"I've had a very successful career," Feldmann said in his farewell speech, because of the support of his family.
His career began, he said, with his parents signing papers allowing him into the Marine Corps at 17.
In attendance were his parents, his five sisters, and two brothers. Another brother was unable to attend. His father, Art Feldmann, is a veteran of World War II and a member of the 88th Infantry Division "Blue Devils," who served in Germany and Italy.
After five years in the Marines, Feldmann left, but two years later he joined the Iowa Army National Guard. In 1984, he was commissioned as a Signal Corps officer after graduation from the then-named Iowa Military Academy.
Feldman listed a litany of military personnel whom he thanked for shaping his career into a success.
Key assignments of late included deploying to Afghanistan as the deputy program manager for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program from 2008 to 2009; promoted to the position as the deputy commanding general for Operations and Mobilization in 2009 with ASC; going to Haiti in 2010 in support of Operation Unified Response following the devastating earthquake there; and deploying to Kuwait for eight months beginning in May 2011 to oversee the equipment drawdown of Responsible Reset Task Force.
"Steve was there as the last of the equipment left Iraq on December 18," Wharton said. "He and his team recovered more than 700 million dollars worth of equipment and accounted for all materiel returning to the United States. It was a monumental effort."
He (Feldmann) singled out retired Maj. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine, former ASC commanding general from 2009 to 2011, who was in attendance, as someone who "challenged me as no one before."
Feldmann make the rank of Brigadier general in 2010.
"Sometimes I didn't care for the method of instruction," Feldmann said, "but his heart was always in the right place."
In his most recent position as the deputy commanding general for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, Feldmann was responsible for providing trained and ready Army Reserve Soldiers in support of worldwide mission requirements for the Army Materiel Command -- ASC's higher headquarters.
Feldmann also talked about how the military and society has changed since 1973.
Gas was 30 cents a gallon; a private's monthly pay jumped from $125 to $326 in 1973; a Soldier's rifle went full circle as it changed from an M-14, to various M-16 versions, to the M-4, and then back to a modified version of an M-14 today; and that military personnel were called "baby killers" at airports, whereas today the public thanks them for their service.
"I was so naïve, I thought they were talking about someone else," he said of the public's baby killer comments.
He left the audience with five points regarding life and military service:
O Set goals for yourself and work toward them daily
O Maintain a balance between your career and family
O Be the best at something, no matter what it is
O Strive for more civilian and military education throughout your career/life
O Form relationships with people who are positive and energetic
Feldmann also presented flowers to Jane Feldmann; his mother, Laura Feldmann; his daughter, and his sisters.
As is customary, Feldmann was presented a polished shell casing symbolic of the last shell fired in the 11-volley cannon salute.
The casing was inscribed: "This final round, fired in your honor with our respect for your selfless dedication to our country, serves as a symbol of your dedicated leadership style to a nation at war, signifies that you always charged toward the sound of the guns."
Music was provided by the Army Materiel Brass Quintet, led by musical director Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone.