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A one-star general who served in the California Army National Guard and led military police in combat came back home to say goodbye after a military career spanning 33 years.
Brig. Gen. Rodney Barham, the deputy commanding general who was in charge of Reserve components for U.S. Army Forces Command, retired Wednesday at a ceremony under the National Infantry Museums rotunda in front of the original Follow Me statue. He had been based at Fort McPherson near Atlanta until FORSCOMs move last year to Fort Bragg, N.C.
Barham traces his roots to Phenix City he attended Carver High School before graduating from Columbus State University in 1979 with a bachelors degree in business management. Rod has always been an achiever, said Lt. Gen. William Ingram Jr., director of the Army National Guard. Hes a visionary and results-oriented leader (whos) worn many hats during his career. Hes a man of many, many talents.
In August 1979, Barham was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. After completing a wide array of supply and transportation assignments, he went on to hold several key command and staff positions with the California Army National Guard.
Im proud to have always been a Guardsman. The National Guard is a very special organization, he told the audience. You are truly twice the citizen. The sacrifice is great. And let me tell you, theres no such thing as one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Weve proved over the last 376 years but especially over the last 10 years that we can do anything, and we can do everything thats asked of us.
The brigadier general was commander of the 49th Military Police Brigade from November 2004 to November 2007. That stint included a deployment to Iraq, where he led U.S. Soldiers and built an international team of police advisers.
Soldiers make the Army, and over the years, Ive worked with some of the best, he said. Ive seen the American Soldier change over the years and become one of the greatest warriors this world has ever known.
In addition to his Army service, Barham also has managed successful ventures in the private sector, Ingram said. He and his daughter, Eileen, operate a Georgia business together.
His great success is not limited to the uniform, Ingram said. He has an absolutely proven track record in the private sector.
Barham thanked his Family, mentors, colleagues and Soldiers for their support in the past three decades.
He grew up on Harris Circle near the old Russ Pool on Main Post just a few miles away from the National Infantry Museum, and said there was never any doubt where his Army career would end someday.
This is home, he said. I wanted to retire here because, 45 years ago, my father retired under the same statue when it was over at Building 4.