Marine Corps honors retired leader with medal
by Senior Airman Robin Drake
Retired Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Jerry C. McAbee, United States Marine Corps Forces Central Command, deputy commander, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal here Monday.
Presiding over the ceremony was Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, U.S. MARCENT commander. General McAbee's wife, Margaret, distinguished guests and members of U.S. MARCENT were also in attendance.
"I was in the military for 35 years, eight months and 24 days and I enjoyed coming to work every one of those days," said General McAbee, who retired Aug. 1. "I had a great career and was proud to serve our country. It was a very humbling experience to work with such great Marines."
From September 2001 to August 2005 General McAbee had been assigned here at MacDill on a temporary additional duty assignment. He was also assigned to the Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, as commanding general, the United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, as deputy commanding general, and the Third Marine Expeditionary Forces, Hawaii, as deputy commanding general.
General McAbee said the last four years in the military had been the most rewarding professionally. It was due to the fact that he played a crucial role in the ongoing war and made decisions that will have a long-term impact on America.
"I believe anybody who doesn't have the opportunity to be in the United States military and serve alongside the best young men and women, misses out on something important. You are part of a team and have tremendous opportunity to become a well-rounded individual," he said.
During his career, General McAbee believes it was the young Marines under his command, each displaying courage, professionalism and selflessness, who kept him motivated and dedicated.
When asked what one improvement he would like to see made for members serving in the military, General McAbee stated it would be to give the young men and women fighting overseas better equipped vehicles to provide better protection from improvised explosive devices.
His plans for retirement include traveling with his wife and using his season tickets to attend as many of the University of Alabama football games that he can.