When retired Col. Everett “Ev” Greenwood entered the Army, he already had a valuable skill that he was able to use early in his career. He had a commercial pilot license.
Greenwood was commissioned as an officer in the Army Signal Corps in 1959 and went to flight school for Army aviation.
He served two tours in Vietnam, flying both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. While he loved flying with the Army, the more he advanced in his career, the further his assignments took him from flight.
“There was always a new challenge,” said Greenwood, who retired in 1988.
During his Army career, he held many different positions including as a Signal Corps instructor and as an inspector general.
While there were different positions and different challenges, the most rewarding aspect of his military service wasn’t fulfilling his tasks all over the world, it was being able to work with people from many walks of life, he said.
“All of my assignments I enjoyed,” he said.
It wasn’t the location that made an assignment enjoyable or a chore, it was the peope.
“You could be in Hawaii, but if you weren’t serving with good people, it wouldn’t be a good assignment,” he said.
After retiring, Greenwood had two additional careers. He spent 11 years in financial planning, and then in 2001, he was asked to serve as the executive director for the National Electrical Contractors Association.
“I thought I’d do it a couple of years, and I’m still doing it,” he said.
Although he doesn’t have a background as an electrician, he said it’s the leadership and people skills he learned in the military that have helped him in his current position.
“Leadership is risky,” he said.
Being a leader means investing in the people you are leading and sacrificing personal gain. It’s not about you, he said, but it’s about caring for those who work with you. When they know you care about them and are looking out for their best interest, they will trust your leadership.
And he’s not afraid to share that advice. He said he’s shared it with leaders from various segments of the local community to politicians.
Although he’s retired from the military, Greenwood hasn’t cut ties with others who’ve served.
“Veterans and those who serve are really the backbone of our country,” he said. “They bring a lot to their community.”
He spent nearly 30 years working with the military retiree council at Fort Gordon, only recently stepping down. He received the commander’s public service award for his commitment to the organization.
“It was a rewarding experience,” he said.
He’s also been active with groups such as AUSA and the Signal Corps Regimental Association, where he served as adjutant.