Salutes & Awards

May 17, 2013

Colonel ends nearly three decades of service

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Maranda Flynn
Staff Writer

From left, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commander, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca; Col. Michael Popovich, Fort Huachuca Training and Doctrine Command, capability manager for Intelligence Sensors; and his wife Robin stand by as the Legion of Merit is presented to Popovich in honor of his 27 years of dedicated service.

A retirement ceremony was held in honor of Col. Michael Popovich, Fort Huachuca Training and Doctrine Command, capability manager for Intelligence Sensors, on May 10 in Alvarado Hall.

Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commander, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, presiding officer and guest speaker at the ceremony, said “As he closes this chapter in his life, Mike can be proud of all he has accomplished, as a spouse, as a father, and as a Soldier. Today we celebrate his accomplished and storied career.”

During his time at Fort Huachuca, Popovich performed as the U.S. Army’s centralized manager for all capabilities development and user activities associated with Army aerial and terrestrial layer platforms and sensors, according to his biography. A master aviator qualified in a variety of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, Popovich has logged nearly 2,400 flight hours, with 340 of those in combat.

After graduating from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., Popovich began his military chapter in May 1986, when he was commissioned as a U.S. Army second lieutenant. Since then, he has served in many locations to include: Camp Casey/Camp Stanley, Korea; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras; Orlando, Fla.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Pentagon, Washington D.C.; Wiesbaden, Germany; and Stuttgart, Germany.

During his speech, Popovich expressed gratitude to many people who held an important role in his career. He reminisced about stories of his past endeavors, and the individuals involved. “The recognition and accolades bestowed upon me today are really not all for me. I did not successfully complete 27-plus years of military service and achieve the rank of colonel on my own. I had help, and a lot of it,” he said.

Popovich has been married to his wife, Robin, for 22 years. They have two children, Matthew, 17, and Bryn, 15. During his speech, he explained that having grown up in the military himself, he could relate to the life his family has experienced during his career.

“To my children … thanks for putting up with all the PCS (permanent change of station) moves, friendships that were cut short, missing out on building relationships with extended families, and often times an absent and distracted father, due to deployments and long hours in the office,” Popovich said as he looked admirably at his children in the front row.

Popovich closed his speech, voice trembling, “To my wife Robin … you have been strong and untiring on the home front and an unselfish contributor to both my career and the Army Family … I cannot thank you enough and can only say you are my best friend, and I love you very much.”

“On behalf of the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the United States Army, and a grateful nation, we thank you and wish you success and prosperity in all your future endeavors,” Ashley said, at the conclusion of the ceremony.




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