May 27, 2004 —
PETERSON AFB, Colo. – It was a fitting end to his active-duty career. Army Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III and his wife, Ann, began life as a military couple at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs nearly 38 years ago. On May 27, the couple returned to the Army base for the general’s retirement ceremony.
Anderson was deputy commander at U.S. Northern Command and vice commander of U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson AFB. He served a total of 43 years in the military, 39 of them as an officer.
Flanked by nearly 300 guests, dignitaries, friends and family members, Anderson and his wife listened as Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army vice chief of staff, thanked them for “selfless service” to the Army and nation.
Casey, who officiated the ceremony, called the Andersons people of “character, integrity and dignity.” He said no one measured up to those traits to the same level as the Andersons.
Casey also thanked the general for his leadership from the platoon to major command level. “The value of his unique ability to lead organizations through change cannot be overstated,” said Casey. “Such ability can only be accomplished by creative, adaptive leaders who possess a tremendous degree of vision and courage – leaders like General Ed Anderson,” Casey said.
The general’s parents traveled from Albuquerque, N.M. to watch their son receive honors. Retired Army Col. Ed Anderson Jr., said it was one of the most momentous occasions in their lives. Even more so than the day their son graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1966. “At West Point he was just in the ranks. Today he’s out in front,” said the colonel.
After presenting flowers to his wife, mother, sister, daughter and granddaughters, Anderson thanked his many friends – several of whom he met while a cadet at West Point – for attending his retirement ceremony. He recalled events from his childhood and early days in the military then paid tribute to the Fort Carson soldiers, especially those recently returned from Iraq.
Anderson said that in light of the current controversy surrounding the Army because of Iraqi prisoner abuses, the news media has failed to recognize “the great job and tremendous sacrifices of our forces around the world.” He told the Fort Carson soldiers, “You make all of us in and out of uniform very proud.”
Anderson also took the opportunity to urge Americans not to forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001. “Our enemy is patiently waiting for us to let down our guard,” he said. Americans “must not become complacent.” Anderson also said the nation must dedicate the resources necessary to win the war on terrorism the same way it won the Cold War.
Although he is taking off the uniform and hanging up his beret, the general said he could look at today’s military and say with assurance that the services are “in good hands with our leaders.” The Andersons have not finalized their post-retirement plans, but the general said he would like to continue to work in the area of homeland defense.