Picatinny Arsenal Senior Commander Retires
By Eric Kowal, Picatinny Public Affairs
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) transfers the guidon for the Program Executive Office for Ammunition to James Shields during a ceremony here yesterday. The passing of the guidon is symbolic of the orderly transfer of authority from one commander to another.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness, Program Executive Officer for Ammunition (PEO Ammo) and Senior Commander of Picatinny Arsenal, officially retired from active duty and relinquished command of the PEO Ammo position to James Shields during a ceremony here today. Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), hosted the ceremony, which officially ended McGuiness' 31-years of military service.
"Our Army and our nation has been well served by General McGuiness for more than three decades," Shyu said.
McGuiness received several awards including the Humanitarian Service Medal for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and the Distinguished Service Medal.
He was also presented with a 105mm artillery shell which was one of 17 shots fired in his honor., The retiring general also received a congratulatory note form U.S. Rep. Rodney of New Jersey's 11th District, and a flag flown over the nation's capitol at the request of the Frelinghuysen.
Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, representing New Jersey's 25th Legislative District, presented McGuiness with a Joint Senate and Assembly Resolution from the State of New Jersey. "I'm happy to know you are leaving the Arsenal in good hands and we will continue to have a place of excellence here at Picatinny," Bucco said.
McGuiness' wife Gail received the Commander's Award for Public Service for exceptional volunteer service and her work with the Picatinny Military and Civilian's Club. She also received a Chief of Staff of the Army Certificate of Appreciation from Gen. Ray Odierno, U.S. Army Chief of Staff.
Gail was the first and last person that McGuiness thanked and recognized during his farewell speech.
"Gail was there 31 years ago at my graduation from West Point. She is my Alpha Omega," he said.
McGuiness thanked virtually everyone he had ever worked with, including retired officers, civilians, members of academia, industry partners, but most importantly the staff at Picatinny.
The general talked about the Picatinny mission and supporting the warfighter. "Everyone in the world looks to you because of the qualities and capabilities that you bring," McGuiness told the assembled Picatinny personnel. "For every single time that someone who is deployed returns home safely that says that you do your job and there is nobody else in the world that does it better than you." McGuiness was stationed at Picatinny as a captain years early in career and recalled the fond memories he and his family had during their first venture.
Upon his return and appointment as the senior military commander, McGuiness said: "I had one goal in mind and that was to make sure that whether you were a brand new military person on the installation or a brand new civilian or you had 40 years here, it didn't matter, but that when you left Picatinny you would leave here with those great memories that I had here during my first assignment." McGuiness assumed the PEO Ammo and senior commander position on October 17, 2012, leading the mission to develop and procure conventional and leap-ahead munitions to increase warfighter's combat power. Previously McGuiness served as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and Senior Commander Natick Soldier Systems Center, Natick, Mass., from May 2011 to September 2012.
Speaking about his successor McGuiness said, "Jim is a leader first and a manager second, and Ms. Shyu there is no better choice for a PEO than Jim Shields."
After receiving a standing ovation McGuiness returned to his seat, after which Shields spoke.
"The only regret that I have about having General McGuiness as a boss was that it was too short, only 21 months," he said. He has seen us through difficult times to include Hurricane Sandy, government furloughs and shutdowns, and 50 percent reduction in our budget, yet he continued to inspire and motivate."
Shields became the Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition in November 2009. Previously Shields served as the Joint Program Manager (JPM) and Deputy JPM for the Joint Lightweight 155mm Howitzer (JLW155); Chief, Systems Engineering Division, Crusader self-propelled artillery system; Team Leader, Wide Area Mine (WAM); and Mechanical Systems Specialist, International Programs Office, Autonomous Precision Guided Munitions (APGM). He graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and received a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of the Program Management Course and the Executive Program Management Course of the Defense Systems Management College.
McGuiness was commissioned in the Infantry upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in 1983. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Armor Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Army Command and General Staff College, and Army War College. He holds master's degrees in Operations Research, Air Force Institute of Technology and Strategic Studies, Army War College. He is a graduate of the Program of Management Development, Harvard Business School.
His decorations and badges include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab and Army Staff Identification Badge.
As the ASA (ALT), Shyu serves as the Army Acquisition Executive, the Senior Procurement Executive, the Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Army, and the Army's Senior Research and Development official. She also has principal responsibility for all Department of the Army matters related to logistics. Shyu leads the execution of the Army's acquisition function and the acquisition management system.