9th MSC honors two senior leaders in retirement ceremony
Story by MAJ Linda Gerron on 02/20/2019
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – The 9th Mission Support Command celebrated the service of Col. Wolfgang E. Junge and Sgt. Maj. Forrest L. Wacker during a joint retirement ceremony here Feb. 10 aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
Presiding over the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Doug Anderson, commanding general of the 9th MSC, who thanked the retirees for their combined selfless service of over 71 years.
“In the time I have known Col. Junge and Sgt. Maj. Wacker, I have seen them strive to do the right thing,” said Anderson. “At every opportunity, they strived to help their Soldiers, strived to help their units get better, and strived to have us all do the right thing. They are professionals who are committed to their country and represent the best America has to offer.”
Anderson also thanked their spouses, Elaine Junge and Geri Wacker, and their families for supporting the retirees throughout their careers.
Junge retired with more than 31 years of military service. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1984 as a combat engineer and commissioned in 1989 as an engineer officer.
Junge’s operational experience includes a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2006 to 2007; and various tours in support of Balikatan 2009 in the Philippines and Keris Strike 2009, 2011, and 2012 in Malaysia. During his tenure in the Army Reserve, Junge also served in many leadership positions including platoon leader with the 813th Engineer Battalion to commander of the 3rd Mission Support Group both in former Fort Richardson, Alaska, and eventually as the deputy commanding officer of the 9th MSC. Junge’s last assignment was as a faculty instructor for the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
In his remarks, Junge thanked his brothers and sisters in arms for their friendship and support.
“The 9th Mission Support Command has been my ohana for over 30 years,” Junge said. “Going from private first class to colonel, from a single-channel radio operator to a deputy commander, and finally an instructor at the U.S. Army War College is as much a reflection of their efforts as it is of my efforts.”
He concluded his remarks with a speech about legacy, how it means encouraging your fellow Soldiers, having the humility to accept your mistakes, and seeing the potential in people who are about to give up.
“Our legacy is nothing more often times than the leadership, integrity, modesty, and humility we show every day,” Junge said. “It’s about being that person you needed when you were younger. It’s about being an example to those you serve with. It’s about inspiring and motivating; and if you do it right, they will pass that on to the next generation. That is legacy”.
Wacker, a native of Iowa, retired with more than 40 years of military service. He enlisted in the active component of the U.S. Army in 1977 as a truck driver and later joined the Army Reserve in 1984.
Throughout his career, Wacker has served in many leadership positions to include heavy equipment platoon sergeant and first sergeant with the 813th Engineer Battalion; to command sergeant major of the 1102nd Garrison Support Unit in JBER; and eventually to multiple command sergeant major positions to include the 9th MSC in 2008, the 4960th Multi-Functional School Brigade in Fort Shafter Flats in 2012, the 328th Combat Support Hospital at Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013, and the 94th Combat Support Hospital in Seagoville, Texas in 2016. Wacker’s last assignment was as the G-1 sergeant major for the 9th MSC.
During his remarks, Wacker said serving had been a great ride and proceeded to thank the many Soldiers, non-commissioned officers, officers, and leaders that he worked with during his career. He especially thanked his wife, Geri, also a veteran, for her utmost support.
His final piece of advice to the Soldiers in the cabin was to know the rules of the game in order to play the game well.
“You have to know the rules, you have to know what your left and right limits are,” Wacker said. “If you know what they are then you can manage the operation, you can manage the fight, and you can make it better. As leaders we need to know this so we can take care of our Soldiers, then the people.”
Junge and Wacker were awarded the Legion of Merit to recognize their accomplishments and contributions to the Army over the past decade. They were also presented with a certificate of retirement to signify their transfer from the active Army Reserve to the retired Army Reserve; a commanding general letter from the 9th MSC commanding general to recognize their patriotism, sacrifices, and their families; and a certificate of appreciation from the commander in chief for serving over 20 years.
In closing, Anderson said both leaders have led wonderful military careers and, in the process, made the Army better.
“They have truly been members of Pride of the Pacific’ and without a shadow of doubt Kept it so,'” Anderson said.