By Scott Prater
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Roderick A. Chisholm, former U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson deputy commander, retired after 42 years of service to the Army during a ceremony at the 4th Infantry Division headquarters Sept. 26, 2019.
To put 42 years in perspective, Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, then commanding general, 4th infantry Division and Fort Carson, spotlighted a few time marks for attendees, which included many of Fort Carson’s past garrison commanders and leaders.
“Let’s take a little walk down memory lane,” George said. “When ‘Rod’ first commissioned in the Army in 1977, the original movie ‘Star Wars’ opened in theaters, Elvis performed his last concert, Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” was the most popular song and the Chevy Impala was the best-selling car in America.”
A grinning Chisholm responded by saying that he actually drove a Gremlin at the time.
After completing ROTC and earning a Civil Engineering degree from Colorado State University, Chisholm spent seven years on active duty in a combat heavy unit that was oriented toward construction.
He joined the civil service ranks in 1984 and began his service in the Directorate of Engineering and Housing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
While a civil servant, Chisholm also served in the Army Reserve, deploying multiple times while also earning a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington.
His Army and civilian career took him around the world, from Hungary and Bosnia to Afghanistan and the South Pacific islands. During that time, he earned two Meritorious Service Medals for 20 years of service at Fort Bragg and eight years of service at Fort Hood, the Army DPW Executive of the Year Award and the Bronze Star Medal.
Before beginning as the deputy garrison commander at Fort Carson, he served for eight years as the deputy garrison commander and director of Public Works at Fort Hood, Texas.
During his keynote remarks, George provided a description of Chisholm’s personality and leadership style.
“The first word I would use to describe Rod is reliable,” George said. “There’s (a) saying around here, that’s known as ‘In Rod We Trust.’ I think that epitomizes how people think of him. The second word I would use to describe him is ‘calm.’ And, anyone who has been around a leader who is not calm knows how frustrating that experience can be. Rod has led installations through floods and fires and all manner of emergencies, all with a constant smile and unwavering positivity.”
George also spoke about the difficulty of performing the role of deputy garrison commander, saying he believed Chisholm was forced to either break in a new garrison commander or commanding general during each of his eight years at Fort Carson, among other challenging tasks.
“I’ve been to enough locations that I think I can brag about the civilian workforce here at Fort Carson,” George said. “We have a lot of talent here, but you need effective leaders to hold organizations together and Rod has been the key ingredient to making this the best hometown in the Army. It takes a special skill to do that. Rod has less of an ego than anyone I’ve ever met, and he’s created a legacy of guiding, mentoring and leading.”
Surrounded by his family, friends and coworkers, Chisholm graciously thanked those who served alongside him and took attendees through some of those 42 years that were often marked by the births of his children, each of whom were born at different Army installations.
“I have a lot of folks to thank,” Chisholm said. “It’s always been a team effort. This garrison has accomplished a lot of great things over the last eight years. I use the word inheritance because that is something you leave for others, and if I’ve affected you or imparted anything to you then I feel proud and humbled to have done so.”
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