CN Salutes Lieutenant Colonel Chuck Paske. I recently interviewed his wife Terri for my Strong Woman Series on Let’s Talk. A very inspiring couple who have spent their lives in service to others, their country and to God. Paske’s journey of service began early, he was drafted in 1969. A twenty three year career in the Army took him and his family all over the country, into other parts of the world and included creating, directing and supervising the one stop Personnel Processing center for all deploying units mobilized in support of Middle East operations through Fort Lewis, WA.
What were your duties during your career?
(1970-1973)First Duty Station, Fort Richardson, Alaska. Admin Services Officer, USARAL. Promoted First Lieutenant and Captain. Our daughters Kareen, Jennifer and Anne were born.
(1973-1974)Second Duty Station, Kimpo, Korea. Commander 1st AG Military Mail Terminal. Responsible for US Mail receipt (Air (Kimpo and Osan) and Sea (Incheon and Pusan) terminals) and distribution from DMV to JeJu Island (All South Korea) – Moved HQ from Kimpo to Ft Humphries (centrally locating HQ to service all APOs).
(1974-1978) Third Duty Station, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN, as ROTC Senior Class instructor and unit Adjutant. During summers was the Camp Adjutant at the ROTC Basic Course at Ft Knox KY. Our son Michael was born.
(1978-1980)Fourth Duty Station,Fort Riley KS, as 1ST DIVARTY (Brigade) S -1. Serviced all personnel programs for the DIVARTY and its 3 Artillery Battalions. Promoted to Major.
(1980-1982)Fifth Duty Station,Fort Riley KS, as US Army Detention Facility S-1. Serviced the only US Detention Facility in the Continental US. Operated all personnel processing and servicing services to include a US Prisoner Banking facility and general store.
(1982-1984)Sixth Duty Station, Worms, Germany as Secretary General Staff for the 5th Signal Command (provider of all Strategic and tactical communications throughout Europe). Provided Admin Services for the Command Group to include International Relations and Services, Protocol, public Relations and Community Liaison.
(1985-1986)Seventh Duty Station, Fort Sheridan IL as the 5th Region Recruiting Command S-1. Provided all personnel services and support for the 7 state mid-western recruiting operations.
(1987-1989)Eighth Duty Station, Fort Sheridan IL as the US Army Recruiting Command Director of Personnel Operations. Provided all personnel services and support for the command, for the 5 regional commands across the US and overseas. Operated the Recruiting School, participated in quarterly recruiting adjudication meeting. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
(1989-1991)Ninth Duty Assignment, Fort Lewis, WA as Fort Lewis S-1/Adjutant. Provided all post and outlying area personnel services and support to include three personnel processing centers, automation services, Retired services liaison services, and the post one stop personnel center.
(1991-1992) Tenth Duty Assignment, Fort Lewis, WA as I Corps 1st Personnel Group Executive Officer. Retained Post Adjutant duties, retired services/operations, USAR/USNG liaison and post wide personnel processing operations, Supervised I Corps personnel operations and the post one stop personnel operations (providing personnel, Financial, Health care, postal, ID card services post wide, retired services and community relations. Created, directed and supervised the one stop Personnel Processing center (providing reception, billeting, transportation, feeding, personnel services, Finance services, legal services, health screening/medical processing, dental processing, and the community liaison services processing center for all deploying units mobilized in support of Middle East /Desert Storm operations through Fort Lewis, WA.
What was the training?
(1969) Reported to Basic & AIT Training at Fort Ord, CA . MOS – 11B/RTO. Promoted PFC
(1970) Commissioned, Second Lieutenant, AG Corps, 1970 (Father, USN Ret, commissioned me)
(1970) Assigned Fort Ben Harrison, IN, for Adjutant General Officer Basic Course
(1975) Assigned AG Officer Advanced Course, Fort Ben Harrison, IN
(1975-1985) Miscellaneous specialty classes: Organizational Effectiveness (TQM, DIME), Race Relations, Time and motion studies/modeling, basic programming management, EEO training instructor,
(1985) Assigned Command And General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS.
What did you like most about serving? Job fulfillment and purpose. Sense of responsibility and authority to accomplish tasks. Feeling of belonging and a sense of value in my job. God designed man to provide and protect – I felt I was doing both. Advancement was merit based throughout most of my career. The professionalism and sense of purpose from superiors developed a culture conducive to job satisfaction.
What prompted you to serve? Draft forced me into the service – the realization of what service was developed quickly as I previously explained.
What was some of the greatest challenges you faced? The next assignment. Virtually every assignment built upon the past. Meeting new opportunities, new responsibilities and authority kept me excited about what was around the next corner. I learned very quickly it is never about what happens. It is about what one does that matters. Staying focused on what needs to be done, moving resources to meet the need, and executing with a sense of purpose is the opportunity and the challenge. The greatest challenge is our children. They see everything we do, and they respond accordingly.
What was the most rewarding experience? Watching my children grow into strong and independent individuals who were always excited to meet new people and explore new locations and together we developed into a Christ centered family. I have had the opportunity to swear my son and now my oldest grandson into military service: A proud rewarding experience.
How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding? As to whether or not my children find their childhood rewarding – you will have to ask them. I believe the influence of the military “life” has had a very direct and lasting influence upon our children – and it’s all very positive – but the greatest influence has been Jesus Christ. Constantly moving from one place to another (30 moves in our career of 23 plus years) has developed a strong tie within the children – they are each other’s best friends. Sense of responsibility and care of those with whom we worked has been effectively modeled (Terri and I) as has our role within the military and church community. I think it has all been very positive. God has brought us into the world to influence this world by our witness (what we say and do). If one’s focus is on themselves, they are an ineffective witness. Our children’s focus is not on themselves.
What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country? For the complaints of a few, our society has lost an effective tool for helping our young matriculate into society (to move from love of self, as a child, to love of others and put away childish things). They eliminated the draft. Our society is now more focused on self than ever before. Today, serving your country is a matter of expectations. It depends on what they want. If a person’s focus is all about themselves, they will have a terrible time in the service – they could get what they want, but the experience will be sorely lacking. If their focus is upon the patriotic role to serve (to “provide and protect” is still a noble goal) and can be a great way to contribute to their country and refine what they are looking for in the way of a career – serving your country is a great way to put away childish things and learn the value of focusing – plus it provides one with a far better perspective for future career opportunities: Your competition is generally going to be still self-centered (in many ways still a child) and employers will be looking for people like you.