The only U.S. Army Signal Corps officer to attain the rank of four-star general was honored Wednesday for his expertise in military technology and mentoring to soldiers.
Gen. Dennis L. Via was inducted as a distinguished member of the Signal Regiment at a ceremony attended by about 25 generals at Fort Gordon. The ceremony was held during the annual Signal Corps General Officer and Senior Enlisted Advisor Conference at the post.
“The things that set Gen. Via apart are both those things he has accomplished in his great career and those things he is now positioned to do,” said Fort Gordon’s commander, Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson.
Via received his fourth star Aug. 7 and assumed leadership of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, where he previously served as deputy commanding general. Before that, he served as director for Command, Control, Communication and Computer Systems in Washington.
Equipping soldiers with the latest technology as fiscal resources were shrinking was one of many ways Via protected the Army, Patterson said.
“He has distinguished himself at every level of service, and he will no doubt serve us well in his current command,” the post commander said.
After accepting the award, Via reflected on Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray, a former Fort Gordon commander who will be honored today at the dedication of a new machine gun range on the post.
“Gen. Gray became my personal role model and my victor,” Via said. “He represented an extraordinary example of leadership, service and commitment to soldiers and their families.
“His life’s motto – work hard, stay close to God, love your family – still guides me today,” Via said.
Gray died last year in a car wreck.
After the ceremony, Via met with military personnel and members of the civilian workforce in Alexander Hall for a town hall meeting. The general briefed soldiers on initiatives to modify communication tactics and training models to help Army units returning from war.
“As we near operations ending in Afghanistan, we begin to transition. Signal Corps is on the front end of that change,” Via said. “We will no longer be able to deploy to fix infrastructure. We’ll have to employ some of those capabilities that we did before that we might have gotten away from in some ways.”