Pogue’s retirement certificate was presented by Installation Commander, Col. Larry Ruggley, at a “Town Hall” meeting for Garrison personnel at Wilson Theater on January 20, 2006. While such retirement presentations are not unusual, this one was very special because the certificate was signed by General Richard A. Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and former 101st and 160th Commander. The fact that the Vice Chief personally signed the certificate is a testament to Pogue’s distinguished and successful career.
Pogue, born and raised in nearby Golden Pond, now a part of the Land Between The Lakes, began his career of service to our Great Nation by voluntarily enlisting in the Army in 1962 at age 18. He served for three years and nine months attaining the rank of E5. Upon his honorable discharge he entered Civil Service at Fort Campbell in May 1966 as a GS-03 Clerk-Typist with the Special Troops organization. He served the Installation as a staff official in military personnel management, military plans and operations, force development, logistics, and resource management. Through initiative, dedication to Soldiers, and hard work, Pogue continually earned career promotions until becoming one of the few GS-14s at Fort Campbell in 1996 when asked by the Command to serve as the Director of Resource Management (Comptroller). Mr. Pogue retired as Director of Plans Analysis Integration Office (PAIO). As PAIO Director, Pogue was responsible for Installation strategic planning, management and process improvement programs, training of the Civilian workforce, and other areas critical to successful Post operations. Pogue served under 17 Garrison Commanders and 23 Commanding Generals. His 40 years of Civilian Service made him the senior civilian at Fort Campbell and having one of, if not the, longest tenure of any civilian ever at the installation.
Pogue’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but he lists his top five as (1) supporting soldiers and family members during the deployments/redeployments from the Vietnam War to the present Global War on Terrorism; (2) Helping to completely rebuild the Division after Vietnam; transforming it to Air Assault and drafting the 101st Airborne Division mission statement and mission essential task list; (3) obtaining a “landmark decision” from the Office of the Secretary of Defense during the late 1970s to build the northern barracks complex consisting of approximately 1,000 sleeping quarters with administration and dining facilities for soldiers; (4) developed many installation management initiatives; with activity based costing/management becoming a standard system in the Army; (5) mentored and cared for staff members ensuring they were successful in their career goals.
Pogue’s awards are also many, including Commanders Achievement Awards, continuous top block ratings, Special Acts, etc. Pogue’s most prestigious award, the “Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award,” was received in February 2005. It is the second highest recognition given by DA to Civil Servants and is signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army. Pogue was also “Civilian Employee of the Year” in the Managerial category in 1994.
Pogue earned the respect and appreciation of both those he served and led. Col. Art Lombardi, Garrison Commander in the mid-1970s, recently praised Pogue by saying, “Donnie was always prepared and had the right answer. I relied upon him greatly and called him often for advice and assistance.”
Another GC (1983-1986) and supervisor of Pogue, Col. (R) Robert Freeman echoed Lombardi’s opinion by stating, “Donnie was a professional, expert in Comptroller area, and very reliable. When he told you something you could depend upon it and when he did something it was right.” Members of the PAIO were equally as complimentary. James Halford, Team Leader and now Acting Director, described Pogue as “a role model and a 21st Century leader who is not only a good mentor, but teacher and facilitator. Sharon Baggett, PAIO Management Program Analyst, who assisted Pogue for twenty years, added, “Donnie is a great man, wonderful to work with, and treats us as equals.”
Pogue will continue to reside in Cerulean, where he has lived for many years with his wife, Linda Cornelius Pogue. They have two daughters, Sunne and Angela, and three grandchildren, Megan (10), Mackenzie (4), and Olivia (1). He is an active member of the Cerulean United Methodist Church, where he is the Finance Chairman and a Trustee. He is also active in the Association of the United States Army and in assisting charitable and community activities.
Although Pogue’s physical presence at Fort Campbell may now be infrequent, one must only look around to see his legacy. It lives in almost every building, program, or plan. All have been affected, directly or indirectly, by this selfless Civil Servant who has dedicated most of his life to serving soldiers. Thank you, Donnie.