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Four-Star Gen. David Perkins to retire at home in NH after 42 years; shaped U.S. battle doctrine

Union Leader Correspondent

March 07. 2018 9:24PM

Gen. David G. Perkins relinquishes the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command colors to U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley during the change of command ceremony at Fort Eustis, Va., on March 2. (U.S. Army photo by Christopher Thompson)

KEENE — U.S. Army Gen. David Perkins, who relinquished command of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command last week, plans to return home to New Hampshire following his retirement ceremony Washington, D.C. Friday.

Born in Goffstown, Perkins’ family moved to Keene when he was just a year old. Perkins’ father taught at Keene State College and the family stayed in Keene through Perkins’ junior high years. The family then moved to Rochester, New York, where Perkins attended high school, after which Perkins attended West Point and his parents moved back to Keene.

After graduating from West Point, Perkins married his wife Ginger and embarked on his military career: 42 years long counting his years at West Point.

Over the next 38 years they raised two children and moved 25 times.

“We spent about 14 years in Europe both before the Cold War and after it,” Perkins said.

Perkins officially stepped down from his command of TRADOC last week, March 2, in a ceremony in which Gen. Stephen J. Townsend assumed command of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command from Perkins during a ceremony here March 2.

Perkins said it was an incredible honor and privilege to serve as the Commander of TRADOC for his last assignment the army.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better final job. ... I feel like you can really leave your stamp on the future,” Perkins said. “You really get to invest your experience back into the Army.”

An Army news release said “Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, who hosted the ceremony, said it was a great but bittersweet day as the command bid farewell to Perkins and welcomed Townsend as TRADOC’s 16th commanding general.”

“This day is not so much about Dave Perkins or Steve Townsend,” Milley said. “This day is really about the tremendous and great work that Training and Doctrine Command does. …TRADOC recruits and accesses 120,000 soldiers every year. … Think about that. That number is larger than the British, Canadian and Australian armies combined. That number is 75 percent of the entire Marine Corps.”

Milley thanked Perkins and his family for their contributions to the Army and the nation.

After his retirement ceremony this Friday, the Perkins’ are packing up one last time and heading back to the Granite State, where they have a vacation home.

“We’re going to retire in New Hampshire up in Jackson. We have a little place,” he said, adding “My whole family still lives in New Hampshire.

Perkins said Wednesday they plan to build “a full-size home with a nice view of Mount Washington.”

“We like to camp and hike and ski so we are in the right place for that,” Perkins said.

He added that despite the constant relocation that comes with the Army life, New Hampshire has remained home.

“The only thing that has been constant in their life has been New Hampshire,” Perkins said of his children, Capt. Chad Perkins, a 2013 West Point graduate and Capt. Cassandra Perkins, UNH ROTC Class of 2008.

The Granite State is where they have come to vacation — hiking in the summertime and skiing in the wintertime.

“We’ve enjoyed seeing the world and all that, but having more permanent roots will be nice as well,” Perkins said.

He added that the senses of camaraderie and trust characteristic of Army life are present in New Hampshire.

“That’s sort of how I remember New Hampshire. Whenever we go back there it has that warm, homey-feel to it that you know you can count on your neighbors for anything,” Perkins said. “When I think of New Hampshire I think of close-knit towns and people. And people helping people, and a real concern for their fellow citizens.”

Perkins daughter, Cassandra Perkins graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2008. And after being a part of the ROTC in college, she went on to become a Black Hawk pilot for the Army and has served two tours in Afghanistan. She is currently stationed at the Pentagon.

His son Chad Perkins also joined the Army and is a combat engineer. He graduated from West Point in 2013.

Because both his children are in the Army they will be able to participate in Friday’s ceremony in D.C., Perkins said.

Perkins took command of TRADOC in March 2014. He was commissioned into the Army upon graduation from the United State Military Academy at West Point in 1980. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the United State Military Academy, a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval College.

TRADOC is one of three Army commands that report directly to the Army Chief of Staff. It focuses on recruiting and training solders, developing both Army and civilian leaders and guiding Army doctrine.

“We’re constantly improving the Army,” he said. “We write all the doctrine on how to run the Army.”

In his four years at TRADOC Perkins worked on, among other things, creating doctrine for how the Army would operate from 2025 to 2050 in all domains, including cyber, space, land, air or sea.

“We’re building the Army of today and building the Army of the future all at the same time,” Perkins said.

General News NH People Keene

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