DARIEN, Ill. –
Brig. Gen. Jason Wallace, the former deputy commander-operations, 416th Theater Engineer Command, will say farewell and retire after more than 30 years of military service. Wallace served in the U.S. Army for 30 years, on active duty and in the Army Reserve.
He began his military career after being commissioned from Army ROTC at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. The program would go on help shape his first few years as a lieutenant and his career in the military. ROTC is where he gained his first exposure to working as a team.
“Working as a close-knit team, those lessons learned as a lieutenant carried all the way through my career,” said Wallace. “[I] certainly enjoyed the leadership roles of the Army. I was a platoon leader for three different platoons when I was on active duty [and] when I [left] active duty, I was a platoon leader in the Army Reserve.”
Wallace added that after being a platoon leader he twice served as a company commander, which was a precursor to future leadership positions. He was also a commander for a headquarters and headquarters company, and he said many might believe that’s not a position that will lead to a higher one. However, Wallace thinks differently. He said being a commander for an HHC was a fantastic job.
“The HHC was a fantastic job, and a lot of people would shun that and say, ‘that’s not really primetime,’ but I would tell everybody it’s a rehearsal for your true battalion command,” he explained.”
While Wallace has served at all levels of command, he said one of the things he’s most proud of is the mentorship he’s provided in the last two years. He believes having the ability to talk to Soldiers and leaders about leadership and mentorship is vital because they explain how the Army works.
“Today I got an email from a lieutenant colonel who is going to be a battalion commander who I have mentored for about the last two or three years, when I became a general officer,” he said. “He sent an email saying, ‘sir all of your guidance has worked, and I’ve been selected for battalion command.’ Those things change the Army, just one position, one person changes the Army. I feel as a GO I was able to have quite a few impacts on those junior leaders and mid-grade leaders to whether it’s continuing their career, help them get to the right job, help them understand how the process works to becoming a GO.”
During the 30 years Wallace has served in the military, he wants his legacy to be one of fairness, honesty, trustworthiness, a good leader, mentor, and follower. He said he want’s those who are possibly thinking about the military to see the opportunities that are available such as leadership and education.
“I think there aren’t many organizations that are structured around being a great team as the Army,” Wallace said. “What better place to be on a team as the United States Army, being able to show those talents, and proving what a great team, you are. I think that’s where you create lifelong friends, lifelong teammates… “I don’t think you find that same level of camaraderie and teamwork in the civilian world.”
Although Wallace will say goodbye to the Army Reserve, he said the Army has been great to him.
“It’s been a great institution, and I’m going to miss it terribly,” said Wallace. “It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”
For more information on joining the Army Reserve, visit www.goarmy.com/reserve.