Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins retires at a ceremony held by the U.S. Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, November 6, 2019.
[Announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the arrival of the Official Party, the rendering of honors, and remain standing for the singing of the National Anthem by Chief Warrant Officer Three Donald P. Teasdale and the invocation by Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel David Snyder. General Perna has deferred honors to Major General Wins.
♪ Oh say can you see ♪ ♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ ♪ At the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ Oh say does that star spangled ♪ ♪ Banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the brave ♪
[Chaplain] I invite you to pray with me. Oh, God, our help in ages past, our hope in the years to come. On this day of change when we celebrate experienced past and life to come, we bow before You and request Your presence, for we know it is You that makes a nation great, and it is You that makes a person a success. We thank You, Lord, for the life, leadership, and career You provided the nation, the United States Army, the CCDC, and Major General Cedric T. Wins. You used him, his wife Cassandra, and son Matthew, daughter Asia, for over 34 years. We know the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice this man and this family made for You and the nation. We thank You for them. We thank You for using them to leave Your mark. Now, give them the wisdom and direction as they head off to Your next assignment for them. Give them the wisdom, courage, patience, and grace for this new place in life. Use them still. Give them success as they trust in You. May our nation, our military, and CCDC always cherish the Wins’ service and sacrifice here. In Your Christ name I pray, Amen.
[Announcer] Thank you, Chief Teasdale and Chaplain Snyder. Please take your seats. It is customary for the last shell fired in honor of Major General Wins to be presented. At this time, Sergeant First Class John Jason G. Martin from the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command is presenting the last shell fired to Major General Wins, representing the final round fired in his honor, and serves as a true symbol of Major General Wins’ leadership to our nation and his dedicated to Soldiers around the world. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a warm welcome for General Gus Perna, Commanding General United States Army Materiel Command.
Well, as always, it’s great to be here in Aberdeen, and it’s a sad day to say goodbye to General Wins, a great Soldier, leader, and person, but onto other things. And so it’s a real honor for me to be here, Cedric, thank you for asking me to do so. Some special guests in the audience today. Dr. Casey Wardynski, Assistant Secretary for the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs, sir, it is always an honor to be with you. Thanks so much, thanks for being here today. Lieutenant General J.D. Johnson’s here, Retired Lieutenant General Joe Martz is here, sir, both gentlemen, nice to see you again. The Georges are here, General and Mrs. George, General and Mrs. Kilgo are here, and then General Tammy Smith is here, and then of course, the Deputy SES John and Mrs. Wilson, so it’s great to see you guys here. To the General Officers, the SESs, the great civilian workforce, and our contracting partners, thanks to all for being here today. It is about recognition of service, that we’re here to recognize what this great leader has done for our Army over many years. Over three decades. So before I go on, though, I wanna reference General Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army 38. And he used to say, “The strength of our nation is our Army, “the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, “and the strength of our Soldiers is our families.” Well, as we’re here to honor Cedric for his career, and all that he’s done, it would be remiss if I did not recognize the great support system he had with him all that time. So, most of it, Cassandra has been with Cedric. They’ve been married now for 24 years. Always actively involved in everything that Cedric has done over the years. From Fort Lee, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Hood, MacDill Air Force Base, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, several assignments in D.C., and then here at Aberdeen, Cassandra and the kids have been with Cedric. Cassandra served in the Civilian Acquisition Corps for more than 10 years before becoming a full-time Army spouse. I wonder what was… (audience laughing) (chuckling) Cedric says that Cassandra is his main stay. If you look up main stay, you find this to be fitting, because it quite literally says, “Someone on which something else depends.” Right, the main stay of the family. Cassandra, thank you for all that you’ve done, thank you for being the main stay, a word I might choose later on when I reflect on Susan’s support to me, because it is really, truly magnificent what our spouses do everyday for us. Right? (audience applauding) You’ve given over the years, and your sacrifices can’t be counted, that’s how numerous they are. Daughter Asia’s here, she is a graduate of Norfolk University, and works for the Veteran’s Administration. And I just was recently told she’s movin’ back home with the parents, right? (audience laughing) I’m helpin’ ya out, Asia, I’ve been there, right? So really magnificent though, you’re helpin’ out our veterans, thank you so much. Son Matthew is here, he’s a gifted pianist, and is studying music composition at George Mason University. Really spectacular, right? We shoulda had you up here knockin’ out that, so. So to the two of you, right, our children are resilient, they have great strength inside themselves, right? And it’s because of what you sacrifice that makes us do what we do, and so to both of you, thank you so much. How ’bout a round of applause? (audience applauding) Cedric’s mother’s here, she traveled from Washington D.C. She has witnessed many of these ceremonies or like ceremonies. She was at Cedric’s graduation from Virginia Military Institute in 1985, and she’s attended every promotion ceremony since he was a Major, right? She was here at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 2016 when we did the Change of Command and promoted him to two-star General. Back then, right, the one thing she’d always ask is, “Cedric, when is your last day in the Army?” (audience laughing) Ma’am, it’s today. (audience laughing) But she is not, she understands the military life, right? Her and her late husband, Cedric’s father, Staff Sergeant Retired Thad Wins, who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam as an Infantry Man, a Military Policeman, and finally, a Combat Engineer. This is not somethin’ new to them. This has been their life. And as I just learned, has also spent time workin’ on Fort Bragg and doing other things with her sisters in support of the military. As Cedric, as we joked, we jested that always askin’ when his last day was, she was always there in support. When he went off to school, right, when he was commissioned, and went up to California for his first assignment and throughout. Always been there to support Cassandra, Cedric, and the kids, and I just wanna say thank you so much. (audience applauding) What you and your husband instilled in Cedric is something that I believe has to be a part of their life from a young age. You don’t grow up to be the man that he is today because you were not involved in his life. And I just tell ya, you did a darn good job. So, thank you very much. (audience applauding) Yes, thank you. Cedric’s sisters are here, Ms. Claudia Wallace from upper Marlborough, Maryland, and Ms. Mary Waynes from Suitland, Maryland, thank you so much for being here both of you ladies. (audience applauding) When I travel around the country and I have the opportunity to speak to a lot of young men and women at all ranks, at all ages, the one thing I’m always asked is, “What do you think the the decision “or the deciding factor is in ultimate success “in the profession you choose, “or the career you choose, or in life itself?” And I try to keep it simple, and I try to keep it constant in my message, and I always remind people: character, confidence, and commitment to what you’re doing will get you to where you wanna be. But you can’t take any of those three things lightly and not one over the other. All the same. I tell you this as I talked about Cedric Wins, because Cedric Wins has possessed these traits since he was a young man, as I just referenced as he was raised, right? And he took it through college, and into his career. He has led by example since his time in the Rat Line at VMI. I learned, a “Rat Line”, I mean, I don’t know. (audience laughing) (chuckles) The things I learn when I do these things, right? At the VMI Rat Line, right? But it was evident back then to many that he was gonna lead. He was gonna be committed to what he was doing, he was gonna be, he was gonna drive himself to be 100% competent, and he was gonna do it always with the highest character. He’s done it for over 34 years. Selfless service to our nation, our country, our Army, the Soldiers he served. He’s used these traits well, and he’s executed them time and time again. He demonstrated early in his life when he went to VMI and he played basketball, right? He played for the stellar VMI team. Are they ranked now? (audience laughing) And at the time, at the time, and we just joked about what my speech writer can do, right, with the internet, at the time, his freshman year, and I wanna make sure I get this record right. It’s a tough one to remember. Oh, yeah. The team was one and 25. (audience laughing) How do you get through that without character, right? (audience laughing) How do you get through that without character? I jest about this, but I’m tellin’ ya, I was an athlete in college, and not every team is as you see on TV, right? There is some tough growing, it takes great resiliency, and I reflect back, just like I’m sure Cedric is doin’ right now, on the people he played with, and he’s thinkin’ about that loss, that season, and he’s thinkin’ about what his teammates and him did as they kept going. ‘Cause what would’ve been the easy thing to do at 19-years-old? Quit. Right? Quit. It woulda been too easy, nobody woulda questioned it, right? He would’ve been in ROTC, he would’ve been goin’ to college, and nobody woulda said anything. But that’s not in Cedric’s DNA. And so what does he do? He stays with his teammates, he stays with his team, and character drives him and his teammates to eventual success. In his senior year, they actually bounced back, and they did very well. They actually made it to the play offs, to the conference finals. Right? (audience applauding) This early glimpse of Cedric Wins is a demonstration of the kind of man he is. Time after time he has done this, and I’ll reflect on that in a minute. He was a pretty good basketball player. I heard he had a nice shot. But others like General Retired Darren McDew reflects, and he saw the impact of Cedric Wins as a role model and potential Senior Leader in the Army. That’s what this General thought of him 34 plus years ago. Cadet Wins may have been committed to basketball, but Second Lieutenant Wins, a Fire Support Officer, first assignment the 7th Infantry Division, demonstrated that he was gonna be high of character. That everything he did was gonna demonstrate his competency. And he was always gonna be committed. Committed to our Army, our Soldiers, their families, and everything we did, or he did. He strongly identified with the physical challenges, and the competition, and the unique camaraderie of the Army. Words that Cedric once uttered, “I think I’m only stayin’ in for four years.” Plus 30. (audience laughing) Plus 30. Went by the side line as the things I’ve mentioned started to take hold inside of him. The satisfaction he got from leading Soldiers kept him interested and returning for assignment, after assignment, after assignment. It became a passion, a passion that fueled the commitment, and gave his utmost, as he gave his utmost to every assignment, to every Unit, to every Soldier he led. Eventually realizing what others already knew about him from his early days at VMI: that he was gonna be a future leader in our Army. To that end, General Wins has served magnificently. Everything he’s done has been with all of him. There has never been partial Cedric Wins involved in anything. Our Army has entrusted him with numerous important Commands and staff positions over the years at home and abroad. From the halls of the Pentagon where we got to know one another, many years ago, to the deserts of Egypt, to the mountains of Afghanistan, General Wins took on every responsibility, every position, at the highest level. Always performing in complex situations above all expectations. And always did it with such calmness. Cedric, I have been incredibly impressed to serve with you the last couple years, personally and in a Command relationship, and I can tell ya, I’ve never seen you frazzled. Never. Now it might be inside, and there might have been some floor pacin’ that Cassandra saw, right, as he went home, and said, “I don’t know what the CG wants now.” (audience laughing) But he never presented that. It was always with extreme calm, right, very articulate, very to the point, expressed his position, defended it well, and then always did what was best for the Army. Why? Because Cedric Wins always thought bigger than himself, and bigger than the Army. He brought a winning attitude to everything he did. He was the type of leader that we needed to bring RDECOM to where it is today, right? We talked a couple years ago about what we thought the future of RDECOM would be. I lacked vision, you had the vision. You coached me. You brought me to the realization on the capability and capacity of this organization and what they would do for this Army. Then you led it there, right? You required little assistance from me, and you gained great grounds because of your leadership, your determination, and your persistence is why RDECOM is doin’ what they’re doin today. Yes, granted, a wonderful team of over 24,000 Soldiers, civilians, but it was his leadership that’s brought it to the apex of all they’re doin’ today. He operationalized the Command and all they’re doing. He took the 24,000 people, $7 billion in budget, brought them all together to an output that’s gonna make our Army greater. It’s gonna make our Army greater not necessarily for today, but for when our grandchildren are servin’ in the Army. That’s when it’s really gonna come to fruition. He won’t even be in the Army when it comes to fruition, but that did not stop him from driving the output that we needed. This is a Soldier, a leader, and a person who is 100% committed, who is driven to be competent, and is of the highest character. That’s how we get results like that. When most of us here today are someplace else 10, 15 years from now, when our grandchildren are climbin’ into the new tank, the new helicopter, firing the new weapon, talking on the new radio, it will be because of Cedric Wins’ leadership and the way his team performed to support him. I am very proud of that. (audience applauding) Those who have served with General Wins know him as the exceedingly competent General Officer, a man who is committed to mission, and who is committed to the people who execute that mission. Without a doubt, all of us know him as a man of unparalleled character. Cedric and Cassandra, you have both served your nation with honor and distinction, and you have made more of an impact on the nation’s security, and in the lives of those you led, more than you will ever know. On behalf of all I offer my sincere thank you. I offer our best wishes for the next chapter in your lives. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors. I know that life is not going to be the same as you leave the Army. But I’m excited for what the Wins family will do next. And I am sure it will be with the same resiliency, determination, and persistence as you pursued the last 34 years, and we will be better because of you in our communities. Because of your effort to make things better and do things right, we, collectively, will be better. And I would like to say on behalf of Susan and I, we look forward to seeing you in our home at any time. Always welcome. And it would be our greatest honor to always be your friend for many years to come. God bless all of you. (audience applauding) You know, ceremonies like this are difficult for all. But they’re important to recognize those who have given so much. We don’t have an opportunity sometimes to say thank you because of all that we’re doing. This ceremony is about saying thank you. General Wins will get up and say thank you to his workforce, he’ll say thank you to his family, his parents, his sisters, his aunts who raised him. He’ll say thank you to his wife and his lovely children, and it will be with graciousness. The importance of today, though, is that thank you. And I encourage all to take the opportunity to be a part of the ceremony today as you go by and shake General Wins’ hands. Thank him for all that he’s done. Because I’m here to tell ya, it’s more than you know. God bless our nation, our Army, and our Soldiers, and our families. Thank you very much.
[Announcer] Thank you, sir. Major General Wins, please join General Perna. Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated during the presentations. The President of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress July 9th, 1918, has awarded the Distinguished Service Medal to Major General Cedric T. Wins, United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious service to the government in duties of great responsibility over a 34 year career culminating as the Commanding General for the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. “Major General Wins has epitomized the Army values, “and has been a remarkable leader to many workforces, “Officers, and Soldiers. “He has represented the United States Army superbly, “and gained the unequivocal universal respect “of those he served under, “those who served under him, and those who served with him. “Major General Wins has consistently demonstrated “an exceptionally high degree of military “and professional excellence “while also displaying unsurpassed leadership. “His life saving contributions to the War Fighters “and Soldiers will truly be enduring. “Major General Wins’ tremendous performance, “commitment to excellence, “and unsurpassed dedication to duty, and Soldiers, “reflect great credit upon him, “the United States Army Futures Command, “and the United States Army.” Signed, Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army. (audience applauding) General Perna will now present Major General Wins with a certificate of appreciation from the Commander in Chief. The certificate reads, “I extend to you my personal thanks “and the sincere appreciation of our grateful nation “for your contribution of honorable service to our country. “You have helped maintain the security of the nation “during a critical time in its history “with a devotion to duty “and a spirit of sacrifice in keeping “with the proud traditions of military service. “I trust that in the coming years, “you will maintain an active interest in the Armed Forces “and the purpose for which you served. “Those who follow in your footsteps will draw inspiration “from your commitment, dedication, “and sacrifices made to ensure the protection “of our American freedoms. “My best wishes to you for happiness “and success in the future.” Signed, Donald J. Trump, Commander in Chief. (audience applauding) The Retirement Certificate is presented and reads, “This is to certify that Major General Wins, “having serving faithfully and honorably, “was retired from the United States Army “on the 1st day of January, 2020.” Signed, James C. McConville, General United States Army, Chief of Staff. (audience applauding) Mrs. Wins, please join General Perna and your husband. “The Public Service Commendation Medal “is presented to Mrs. Cassandra Wins “for exceptionally meritorious service “to Aberdeen Proving Ground and surrounding communities. “Mrs. Win’s sincere generosity, deep compassion, “and genuine commitment to the wellbeing of Soldiers “and Army families improved the overall quality of life. “Her dedicated support and outreach to the community “served as an example for all to emulate. “Her outstanding professionalism and dedication “reflects great credit upon herself, “the United States Army Futures Command, “and the United States Army.” Signed, John M. Murray, General Commanding. (audience applauding) Mrs. Wins will now receive the Army Certificate of Appreciation. The certificate reads, “This is to certify that Mrs. Cassandra Wins, “on the occasion of the retirement of your spouse “from the United States Army, “has earned grateful appreciation for your own unselfish, “faithful, and devoted service. “Your unfailing support and understanding “helped to make possible your spouse’s lasting contribution “to the nation.” Signed, James C. McConville, General United States Army, Chief of Staff. (audience applauding) Thank you General Perna and Mrs. Wins. Please take your seats. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, Major General Wins is presenting his spouse Mrs. Cassandra Wins with a bouquet of roses. He is also presenting a bouquet of flowers to his daughter, Mrs. Asia McMillan-Wins, and his mother, Mrs. Hazel Wins. And he is also presenting a coin to his son, Matthew Wins. (audience applauding) Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Major General Retired Cedric T. Wins.
Wow. That’s all I can really say right now is wow. Lemme try to get it together. First of all, thank everyone for being here. It really is truly special for myself and my family. And General Perna talked about how calm and cool he’s always seen me over the years, and that’s probably ’cause I have no thyroid. So, it’s kinda easy not to get worked up about things after all these years. But the medication’s good (chuckles) (audience laughing) and it works. So I just wanted to acknowledge a few of the honored guests and very important people here that General Perna mentioned, but I just think it’s fitting that I mention them and a few others as well. So, Dr. Wardynski, thank you, sir, for bein’ here. I don’t know if General Bruce and Diane Crawford are here, but they were supposed to be. General Johnson, J.D. Johnson, and General Martz, thank you all for being here as well. Mitch Kilgo and Latonya, teammates from APG here, thank you for being here. John and Shannon, thank you all for being here. And then Jim Bagley from VMI class of ’85, my classmate, thank you, Jim. And I see Pete Ghallagher out there, thanks, Pete, for being here, and being such a great teammate over the years. And then we have one of our Gold Star Mothers, I see, Ms. Chance, Janice Chance, thank you, ma’am, for being here. (audience applauding) Thank you for your sacrifice. And so I’d like to also acknowledge all the other, my fellow General Officers, members of the Senior Executive Service, friends, ladies and gentlemen, members of the CCDC Team, my family, which who is also represented by my sister and my brother-in-law, but also my wife’s sisters, two sisters, her brother, my brother-in-law, my niece, thank you all for being here. And then my three aunts, my two aunts, and my cousin, and then I have a cousin in the back row and my aunt as well, I see, so thank you all for being here. It’s very special, thank you for being here. I’d like to just kinda give a real quick shout out to Mrs. Phelia Baiz, she’s from our Protocol over at CCDC, as well as the C-COM Protocol Team, because in the last week, they have put on two ceremonies on my behalf, and done a tremendous job on both of them. And not to mention all the other activities that they have goin’ on with a new Commander on board. So, Ms. Phelia, where are you? And the rest of the C-COM and the Protocol Team, thank you all. All right? Thank you. (audience applauding) And then I’d like to thank Chief Teasdale and Chaplain Snyder for what you always set the tone for very meaningful events like this with the foundation of a commitment to our nation, and then a spiritual foundation, so, thank you for what you do, because it’s very important to me, because I consider myself a Child of God, and I’m thankful. And I know that every step that I’ve taken has been through His order, so, thank you for setting a proper tone. (audience applauding) And last but not least, I’d like to thank the Honor Detail led by Sergeant First Class Jason Martin and the rest of the Team. This also is their second time, so they’re doin’ double duty. They did a ceremony last week in the Change of Command, and me bein’ an Artillery Man, just to kinda hear that “boom” is always exciting, so, thank you. As I mentioned just a moment ago, while each of you honor us with your presence, me getting to this point in my career is about thanking many of you. The fact that you’ve graciously given over your time and recognizing that each person in the audience really gave me an opportunity over 34 years to meet and build relationships with you or how you shaped, how you showed me and help me shape myself through your admirable leadership qualities. For me, this is what’s really important about today. General Perna, I’ve seen first hand how incredibly busy your schedule is, sir, and I know how much effort you put into engaging the Command and your Commanders, and so I’m personally grateful that you would host this ceremony for me and my family. I’d also like to thank you for bein’ able to spend two out of three years in Command as a part of AMC, to experience a leader who truly understands and could teach the Art of Command to nine MSC Commanders, giving them direction but also the latitude to shape and drive their organizations while meeting your intent is a skill that many don’t have. I’m truly grateful for the climate you set and because of the way you led, and so CCDC, my former Command, was allowed to build momentum and successes as it became part of AFC, so, thank you very much, sir. (audience applauding) I’d also like to thank General Retired Dennis Via who wasn’t able to make the ceremony today, but I’m truly grateful to General Via. Not only because he became someone who I greatly benefited from his mentorship and advice, but because he placed an enormous amount of trust in me to command an organization that was first known as RDECOM and then CCDC, and I just, as was mentioned earlier, changed Command with Major General John George last week, and I have no doubt that he’ll be a tremendous Commander and do a tremendous job for the Army at this particular time and where they need to go, so, thank you. Now, honestly, there are a lot of people in this room who played a role in how I got to this point. But to give you a better idea of who I am, because I’ll tell ya that I’ve learned a lot, and it’s probably based on four transformative periods in my life. I think the first was when I learned what drove me, and my desire to thrive in competition to succeed, and to never be counted out, and that feeling of winning that comes from it. I’ve got coaches and childhood friends in this room, and teammates and competitors goin’ back as far as high school and through college, who each and every day gave me an example that having a never-quit attitude was important, and what that was all about. And so there are a couple here in the room that I’d just like to acknowledge. I don’t know that I see Joe Contafio, so he’s not in the room, but Darren Salathite, and Big Warren Green, if you all could just stand up and be recognized. These guys go way back with me. (audience applauding) And I thank each of you for establishing that foundation in me of competitiveness. The second is what I learned about the values that are centered around dignity, and respect, integrity, and self-sacrifice. It’s what we who serve in the Army call “Army Values”. My education in those values was necessary, otherwise I would no doubt have failed in life, because for me it began as a knuckle headed, stubborn, cocky kid from the inner city of Washington D.C. and suburban Maryland. When I went to a small Liberal Arts Military College in Lexington, Virginia, VMI. I learned a lot about myself by watching others navigate a similar set of hardships. And as I watched them do it so effortlessly, I resolved within myself that if they could put honor above self, then so could I. And so within this audience are a number of my classmates and Brother Rats from the VMI class of 1985 who’ve always come to my G.O. promotions with a sense of bemusement and disbelief. (audience laughing) And among that group is a very special group, my three roommates. Colonel Retired Chuck Rogerson, Retired Navy Captain Darren Solyer, Mr. Davis Estes, who I’ve had a close friendship with which is more like a brotherhood for over 35 years. They’re special because they’ve all served, and we’ve supported each other through successes, significant milestones, and unforeseen tragedies. But through it all, we’re still as close as the day we first met. So, if I could get all my classmates from VMI class of ’85 to just stand and be recognized, please. (audience applauding) I don’t know if this is the appropriate time when you guys do what you normally do with that old yell thing, but, you know, if this is the appropriate time, have at it. (group shouting and chanting) ’85, ’85, ’85. (audience applauding) I think the next significant period was when I learned fundamentally what the Army was all about, and that in order to prosper in it, learning and practicing your craft was important, and demonstrating leadership was equally important. That most certainly occurred to me over my first five years in the Army. I always told my wife there were many places I could have served, but had I not served with a group of young leaders who I admired, who I could count on for advice, who I could look up to, my career would’ve ended like I envisioned, with the fulfillment of my three year service obligation. But it was from this group and my first assignment at Fort Ord, California, and in Seoul, South Korea, I learned the importance of being a good Artillery Man. Challenging myself to be the best that I could, being diligent in self-study, and never shying away from the tough tasks. This was a group of some of the Army’s most talented young Officers who came to these assignments to achieve first for the Army. The First Army Division of Light Fighters and a group of leaders who continuously did routine rotations on the Demilitarized Zone and Tactical Operations from nearby fire bases. And who until Desert Shield and Desert Storm where operating in the last remaining area of conflict that was only curtailed under the terms of an armistice that ended the Korean War. So, I’d like to ask, if they’re in the room, a couple of my Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers, Colonel Alvin Perkins, Mr. Richard Moore, and Tony Perkins, if they’re in the room, if you could stand. Duke C. Wright. (audience applauding) And in my first-to-fire teammate, Ed Jackson. Ed Jackson, if you could stand up.
Love you, man.
Love you, too, brother. I thank you all for being great role models and friends. And then the final period over the last six years was as a General Officer. I’ve been fortunate to have had some great mentors. They are among some of the finest General Officers who served in the Army. And more than anything, they’ve always rooted for my success. Men like General Ben Griffin, General Pete Chiarelli, Former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, General Bob Cone, who’s my Brigade Commander and the TRADOC Commander when I served under him, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, Lieutenant General Retired Joe Martz, and Major General Bo Dyess. General Martz is in the room with us today, sir, could you stand and be recognized? (audience applauding) What these gentlemen did for me was demonstrate each and every day the type of character that I’d seen throughout my career in the best of the Officers in the Army. Reinforcing the things that matter the most, taking care of your people, your character matters and speaks volumes of how you are and how you live, and how being a life-long learner at the Executive Level of the Army is essential to making an impact in the Army as it transformed itself after 18 years of conflict, and refocused its efforts on readiness, modernization, and taking care of its people. I benefited from having been surrounded by some tremendous talent. I’m thankful for the two Chiefs of Staff that I had while I was in Command, countless Deputies while I served in many assignments, three Command Sergeants Majors while I was in Command, five Executive Officers. I had Natasha Wayne, who’s sitting in the back, twice, Matt Bender who served, Chris Kalooia when I was the FD, and Mike McInerney. And I’ve had five aide-de-camps since I’ve been a General Officer. Jason Bush, Kelly Sloane Murphy, who was a Marine Corps Officer, Tarrick Jones, Josh Blunk, and Jose Dewarte who’s my current aide-de-camp. Each of those supported me through combat deployments, assignments in SOCOM, TRADOC, Head Quarters Department of the Army G8, and CCDC. Each of these young talented Officers were my selection to gain exposure, learn, and demonstrate their abilities. Not one of them ever let me down or failed to live up to my expectation of how they should perform. Most importantly, each of them taught me a lesson about the importance diversity plays in our Army. Soldiers want to see someone who looks like them, that represents what’s possible in their career. I think the lesson I learned the most and tried to apply as often as I could was quite simply when selections and key assignments at any rank are not about the best qualified, then leaders should have the courage to insist selections reflect the diversity of our Army. Most of you who know me know that I often refer to my 34 years in the Army as three years of service and 31 years of gravy. This simply means I felt I got more out of the Army than it ever got out of me. Each and every part of my journey was rich with lessons that are a part of my journey. Each experience gave me an opportunity to be part of the first in the Army. Whether it was goin’ through a Division Capstone exercise certifying the 7th Infantry Division as a Light Division, or being the first Brigade in that Division to deploy on a peace-keeping mission, or the Division Capstone exercise certifying the 4th Infantry Division as the Army’s first digitized Division, a major reorganization in the Head Quarters Department of the Army G8, bridging the Capability Development Approval Process, transforming the Long Range Investment Requirements Analysis Process to dispar the Strategic Portfolio Analysis Review, or transitioning 24,000 people of Soldiers, civilians, and contractors from RDECOM to CCDC, and from CCDC in AMC to CCDC in AFC. The other thing most of you know about me is if I carried out the plans that I made for myself 34 years ago, my career would have ended in 1989. And so when I look into this audience, and particularly down on that front row, I think about the many great experiences I’ve had, and the many special things that I hold dear to me that would not have been possible. I don’t believe I would’ve learned what it truly meant to serve selflessly, if I did not reach this point in my career, the many travels around the world don’t happen. I don’t get the opportunity to grow cherished friendships that I’ve valued well over 34 years. If my career ended in 1989, I never meet this young Procurement Analyst at Fort Lee, Virginia, who was extremely cute, (audience laughing) and has this high pitched voice, (audience laughing) who becomes the love of my life, who sacrificed every day for our family, suffered excruciatingly painful loss, and who’s done the things to make each house a home through far too many moves to count. Through 27 years of getting to know each other, and 24 years of marriage, we’ve had our share of ups and downs, but through it all, I love her as much today as the day I met her. If my career ends after my first three year tour, I don’t have the joy of having two wonderful, caring, bright kids, in Asia and Matthew, and three in Heaven in Miles, Jordan, and Kennedy. But if I do serve faithfully for 34 years, I fulfill the promise to my mother, who I’m blessed to say has had the opportunity to see me in every one of my promotions and been at every one of my promotions since I was a Major. And that promise was I finally get to a point where I can say to her, I’ve given it my all, and it’s time to move on. And Mama, this time I really mean it. (audience laughing) (audience applauding) So, General Perna, thank you once again, sir, for retiring me, and thank you everyone for the enormous impact you’ve had on me and my career. This has been the best ride ever. And more than I could’ve ever envisioned for myself. Army strong. Soldier for Life.
[Announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, before Major General Wins is presented the United States flag, please watch this short video, and please take your seats.
[Narrator] I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings. I stand watch in America’s Halls of Justice. I stand guard majestically over great institutions of learning. I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world. Look up and see me. I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice. I stand for freedom. I am confident. I am arrogant. I am proud.
[Announcer] Commander Sergeant Major John Stanley will present Major General Wins the United States Flag in recognition of his 34 years of devoted service in the defense of our nation. The retirement flag is a symbol of a grateful nation. It is a tradition for the United States Military to present a United States flag to a service member upon the occasion of their retirement to commemorate the years of selfless service they have dedicated to their country. This flag, which you have so proudly served, and so honorably defended, is a true emblem of our unity, our thoughts, our power, and our purpose as a nation. Accept it, protect it, guard it, and ever remember that the young men and women you have trained, guided, and inspired, will follow in your footsteps, and serve, and defend it with equal pride. (audience applauding) Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remain standing for the playing of “The Retirement Medley”, the singing of “The Army Song”, and the departure of the Official Party. The words are printed on the back of your program.
♪ Old Soldiers never die ♪ ♪ Never die ♪ ♪ Never die ♪ ♪ Old Soldiers never die ♪ ♪ They just fade away ♪ ♪ Young Soldiers you stay good ♪ ♪ You stay good ♪ ♪ You stay good ♪ ♪ Young Soldiers you stay good ♪ ♪ If they fade away ♪ ♪ Old soldiers never die ♪ ♪ Never die ♪ ♪ Never die ♪ ♪ Old soldiers never die ♪ ♪ They just fade away ♪
“Auld Lang Syne”
“The Army Song” ♪ March along ♪ ♪ Sing our song ♪ ♪ With the Army of the free ♪ ♪ Count the brave ♪ ♪ Count the true ♪ ♪ Who have fought to victory ♪ ♪ We’re the Army and proud of our name ♪ ♪ We’re the Army and proudly proclaim ♪ ♪ First to fight ♪ ♪ For the right ♪ ♪ And to build the nation’s might ♪ ♪ And the Army goes rolling along ♪ ♪ Proud of all ♪ ♪ We have done ♪ ♪ Fighting ’til the battle’s won ♪ ♪ And the Army goes rolling along ♪ ♪ Then it’s hi hi hey ♪ ♪ The Army’s on its way ♪ ♪ Count off the cadence loud and strong ♪ ♪ For where e’er we go ♪ ♪ You will always know ♪ ♪ That the Army goes rolling along ♪