Maj. Gen. Dean returns home to Oregon for formal retirement observance
By Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 09, 2015
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- Returning home to Oregon with family and friends, Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean formally retired after nearly 41 years of military service during a ceremony held in his honor on base, Dec. 6, 2015.
Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau accompanied Dean from Washington D.C. and hosted as presiding officer for the ceremony. Maj. Gen. Dean most recently served as The Special Assistant to the Chief, National Guard Bureau, where he acted in the capacity of Director, National Guard Joint Staff.
Ceremony attendees included Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Silver, interim Commander, Oregon Air National Guard; Chief Master Sgt. Andy Gauntz, State Command Chief, Oregon Air National Guard; and State Command Sgt. Maj. Shane Lake, Joint Senior Enlisted Leader, Oregon National Guard and other men and women of the Oregon National Guard.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Lengyel presented The Distinguished Service Medal to Maj. Gen. Dean along with his official Certificate of Retirement from the United States Air Force and Oregon National Guard.
Lengyel said that the first time he met Dean was not at an Air Force endeavor, but rather at the Delta Airlines pilot lounge in Atlanta, Georgia, as they both flew commercially for the airline at the time.
"Over the last 10-15 years I've worked with him and as a colleague in other capacities. One thing I can say about Garry Dean is that it's never been about him, but rather about him helping grow future leaders, Airmen and organizations," said Lengyel.
Lengyel said he witnessed this first hand when they served together at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, serving as Dean's vice commander at 1st Air Force, Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The mission of 1st Air Force is to ensure the aerospace control and air defense of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
"The responsibility is immense, this is our biggest job in the Air National Guard," Lengyel said. "The commander is charged with the air sovereignty and air defense of the United States."
In concluding his remarks, Lengyel described Dean's subsequent assignment and Dean's unique ability at building relationships as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy.
"Who better to bring together a collation of 28 nations, who all have to agree on something before it is done? Gen. Garry Dean of course," Lengyel said.
In his statements, Dean described the experience of working in Italy with other NATO [North American Treaty Organization] partners:
"There is no doubt that given the resources, their pilots and officers are as good as ours," he said.
The distinction that Dean found during his two-year assignment, and "took to heart," was the role of the senior enlisted and the total force development within the United States military.
"Airmen and Soldiers who get the job done; the professional expertise, discipline and education of our enlisted corps is what make us special and it's our future," he said.
Dean touched on other duties during his career, from attending the United States Air Force Academy, to his active duty assignments and later becoming a member of the Oregon Air National Guard. He served in various leadership capacities in Oregon from 1990 through 2003 - including his role as the 142nd Fighter Wing Commander from January 2001 through January 2003.
"In the early 1990s we saw a cultural shift, beyond a UTA (Unit Training Assembly) or a normal drill weekend in the National Guard," Dean said.
"This was a seminal moment. It was about building what our nation needed: a sustainable combat reserve," he said. "This development is what our nation has now come to expect of our 54 National Guard states and territories."