FORT MONROE, Va. — In June of 1970 at the commissioning ceremony of new Reserve Officer’s Training Corps lieutenants, no one in attendance could predict that one of the future senior leaders of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command was there pinning on his gold bar that day — not even 2nd Lt. Anthony Jones, a distinguished military graduate. Nearly 36 years later, the Washington native is retiring from his position as TRADOC Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff.

The Washington Catholic High School graduate’s career included training and assignments in many challenging areas — airborne, ranger, aviation, special operations, command at all levels and staff positions, plus combat duty in Operations Desert Shield/Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. He excelled in every leadership opportunity crediting the soldiers he worked with and learned from for his success.

When Jones was first commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, he never imagined he’d be wearing three stars on his shoulder when he retired.

“(New officers) have mixed emotions about what (they’re) getting into,” said the general. “I started out in the infantry and knew I wanted to go to Fort Benning. Vietnam was on at that time. I wanted to get the best training I could to prepare myself because our mission was to go to Vietnam. I went to airborne and ranger school and got some great training.”

As with most Army careers, there was a curve ball sent the way of the young lieutenant. Instead of going to Vietnam, Jones was assigned to Germany.

“I trained on the ground as a light fighter and then in the mechanized infantry,” said Jones. “The Army needed aviators. Aviation was undermanned at the time because soldiers were being sent to Vietnam, so I applied to flight school.”

Jones was accepted and became an Army aviator in 1973. Jones spent time as a test pilot at Fort Rucker, Ala., and eventually returned as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center and Fort Rucker.

His time at Fort Rucker and also his position as the U.S. Army Europe chief of staff helped prepare him for what he would face as the TRADOC DCG/COS.

“I think having already been in TRADOC as a commander gave me some focus of what it was like at the end of the rope so to speak,” said Jones. “What prepared me for this job was my time as the chief of staff for Gen. Montgomery Meigs and Gen. B.B. Bell, and the other was as a division chief of staff. The ability to orchestrate the staff and develop the team towards the common goals and priorities of the command was something I learned early.”

Throughout life, everyone has mentors who help mold and shape the path their life and career takes. Lt. Gen. Jones was no different.

“Early in your career, it is friends and peers you develop who help you along the way,” said Jones. “I had a good friend who retired as a colonel, Bill Ryan, who was with me from 1973 on. We stayed in touch.

“You develop early on people who influence you at the major and lieutenant colonel level. There was a battalion commander, a guy named Snyder who came into the aviation battalion when I got there. He played softball with us and was a good guy with common sense and not excitable.

“When he hired me to be a company commander, I had been a captain for only a week, but he had enough trust and confidence in me. Gen. Doug Brown and I first met right after Desert (Shield/Storm) as we started working the enduring capability of Special Operations as majors.

“I wrote the Special Ops volunteer statement right after Desert One. General Wickam testified and was asked if the special operations soldiers were all volunteers. They were all volunteers, but we created a separate piece of paper that the soldiers signed.”

The list of the general’s peers is a like reading a who’s who of Army leadership.

“(Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen.) Dick Cody was in my Apache transition course. I was the leader, and he was my assistant,” said Jones. “When you get to this level and over time, the relationships you have developed, whether it is people who you served in Command and General Staff College or the War College or on different assignments with you or working through hard times together, you know you can pick up the phone and call them. Your family expands and your relationships expand when you grow in the Army,” said Jones. “It becomes not a competition, but instead, you want to see all of these people do well.”

Throughout his nearly 36 years of service to the Army and the nation, there was one thing that was consistent with Jones and any soldier he either led or served with — hard work.

“We worked hard, and we trained hard,” said Jones. “I have learned and have seen about everything you can see. I have seen death, I have seen hard times. I have been wet and cold. I have chased bad guys through the bad alleys. I have experienced many times where a unit has come together and felt the cohesiveness that they developed.

“That cohesiveness didn’t come because of micro-management. It was because they were allowed to develop their capabilities to be all you can be. Soldiers appreciate that. It’s important to be approachable.”

Jones is the son of Helen Jones of Washington.

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