Dana J.H. Pittard

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Dana J.H. Pittard
Dana J. H. Pittard (2).jpg
Dana Pittard in 2013
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1981–2015
Rank Army-USA-OF-07.svg Major general, (Ret.)
Battles/wars
Awards Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (2nd Award)
Bronze Star with valor device
Ranger Tab
Parachutist Badge
Air Assault Badge

Dana J.H. Pittard is a retired United States Army officer. In the days post June 9, 2014,[1] he was appointed Joint Force Land Component Commander-Iraq (JFLCC-I),[2] during the coalition response to the June 2014 incursions by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh), into Iraq from Syria.[3] Pittard was Deputy Commanding General of Operations (DCG-O) for ARCENT, the US Central Command / Third Army, based in Kuwait, until 2015.[4][5] Pittard was the Commanding General of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was also Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations & Training at the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Monroe, Virginia and commanding general of the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Pittard was born in Japan while his father was stationed there, as a soldier in the US Army.[7] A graduate of Eastwood High School, El Paso, Texas, Pittard had previously lived at Fort Bliss as a boy, a station he was later to command. Pittard graduated from the United States Military Academy, Armor Officer Basic Course, Infantry Officer Advance Course, and the Command and General Staff College (CGSC). He holds a master's degree in Military Arts and Science from the United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He also has completed a National Security Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Career[edit]

Pittard addressing soldiers of the First Armored Division, in a formation before a Post Run at Fort Bliss, on May 14, 2013.

Pittard received his commission as an Armor officer in 1981. His first operational assignment was with the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1982.[8] He served as a Tank Platoon Leader and Tank Company Executive Officer in 2-63 Armor; then as a Scout Platoon Leader and Battalion S1 in 3-37 Armor. In 1984, he served as an Admissions Officer at West Point; and in 1985 was assigned to Bad Kissingen, Germany, as the Squadron S4 for 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR).

In October 1986, Pittard commanded E Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th ACR until May 1988. He next commanded Fox Company, 40th Armor (Berlin Brigade) from June 1988 until March 1990. In April 1990, he commanded D Company, 1-37 Armor at Vilseck, Germany, and led his unit in combat in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Upon returning to Germany, he served as an Assistant S3 in 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. He next served at Fort Hood, Texas as the Assistant G3, Chief of Plans and Exercises for 2nd Armored Division; the S3 for 1-67 Armor; and then as the S3, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

Pittard served as a Military Aide to President Bill Clinton from November 1996 until January 1999. In June 1999, he assumed command of 1-32 Armor/1-14 Cavalry at Fort Lewis, Washington as a part of the Army's first Stryker Brigade until June 2001. Pittard took command of 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in July 2002 and led the unit on deployments to Kosovo (2002–2003) and to combat in Iraq (2004–2005). In July 2005, Pittard was assigned as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 24th Infantry Division later to transition to the 1st Infantry Division. In July 2006, he deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom where he assumed command of the Iraq Assistance Group, while still serving as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver of the 1st Infantry Division. He was the commander of the Iraq Assistance Group in combat in Iraq from June 2006 through June 30, 2007, and transferred command to Brigadier General James C. Yarbrough. On August 8, 2007, he assumed command of Fort Irwin, CA.[6] On December 18, 2008, Pittard announced his plans to leave Fort Irwin sometime in March 2009.[9] He became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Training at TRADOC in March 2009.

On July 9, 2010, General Pittard assumed command of Fort Bliss, Texas. In May 2011, General Pittard assumed command of 1st Armored Division.

On May 24, 2013, Maj. General Pittard relinquished command of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss to Maj. General Sean MacFarland. Pittard was then the Deputy Commanding General of Operations (DCG-O) for ARCENT until 2015.[4] In 2014, General Pittard became the Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq (JFLCC-I) in Baghdad and led the initial fight against ISIS in Iraq.[10]

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) conducted Pittard's General Officer Retirement Ceremony on September 30, 2015, at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall, Military District of Washington.[11]

Suicide prevention[edit]

During the period Pittard commanded the post, Fort Bliss earned the LivingWorks Community of Excellence Award for effective suicide prevention and intervention programs in July 2012.[12][13][14] According to Department of Defense statistics, Fort Bliss had the Army's lowest suicide rate in 2012 while Pittard was commanding general.[15][16][7]

Pittard was criticized for his personal blog statement that he was "personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess."[17] This statement, while seen as self-centered and callous, had been triggered by a soldier who had committed suicide in the presence of his two young daughters on Christmas morning.[18]

Several of the suicide prevention reforms instituted by Pittard at Fort Bliss have propagated to other Army installations.[7][19][20]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg Basic Parachutist Badge
AirAssault.svg Air Assault Badge
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab


Army Distinguished Service Medal[11]
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
V
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 scarlet ribbon with width-4 ultramarine blue stripe at center, surrounded by width-1 white stripes. Width-1 white stripes are at the edges.
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg 3 Bronze Star Medals: one oak leaf cluster and valor device
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver oakleaf-3d.svg Meritorious Service Medal with 1 silver leaf cluster (six awards)
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal


US - Presidential Service Badge.png Presidential Service Badge [11]

Pittard was awarded the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. He also wears the Order of St George, the Order of St Barbara, and the Order of the de Fleury Medal.

Criticism[edit]

Major General Pittard was reprimanded in February 2015 for "perception of favoritism",[21] for a defense contract award meant to make Fort Bliss an energy-efficient government installation, to a firm that was run by two of his former West Point classmates. After a three-year (2011-2014) investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Army Inspector General, all major allegations against General Pittard were found to be unsubstantiated.[21] One of his two West Point classmates was convicted on sixteen counts of fraud[21] in federal court according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, under the Freedom of Information Act. Major General Pittard had long been considered a rising star in the Army.

Pittard maintains that he did not do "anything legally, morally, or ethically wrong."[22] He told the El Paso Times that the charges against him were "unsubstantiated" during the investigation,[4] but that the process had no mechanism for him to rebut the charges which were based on an anonymous tip.[4][22]

Post-Army career[edit]

Pittard serves as a vice-president of Allison Transmission, Inc. In 2018, Pittard was named to Savoy Magazine's list of the "Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America." A tri-athlete, he is writing a memoir about one of his Iraq tours.[7][10]

I laugh when I hear ‘you can’t do that’ because it makes me want to do more. —Dana Pittard[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ PBS News Hour, July 2, 2014 accessdate=2014-07-02
  2. ^ Pittard tapped to lead Iraq mission
  3. ^ Pentagon Briefing On Operation Inherent Resolve against Daesh, minute 1:20 / 32:56
  4. ^ a b c d Military.com, "General to Retire after 34 Years in Army" accessdate=2015-12-14
  5. ^ David Burge, El Paso Times, 1 July 2013,
  6. ^ a b Gina Cavallaro (August 2007). "New commander for National Training Center". Army Times. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  7. ^ a b c d Ben Hattem, Politico Magazine (17 March 2017) "The General Who Went to War On Suicide"
  8. ^ General Pittard reminisces that Captain Humayun Khan later led the same platoon. Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: "I was Capt. Khan’s commander in Iraq. The Khan family is our family."
  9. ^ a b Eunice Lee (December 2008). "Head of Fort Irwin announces imminent departure". Desert Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  10. ^ a b Pittard and Bryant, (2018) Hunting The Caliphate
  11. ^ a b c General Officer Retirement Ceremony September 30, 2015 for Major General Pittard, with photos
  12. ^ Robert Gray (August 2012). "Fewer suicides at Fort Bliss". El Paso, Inc. Newspaper. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  13. ^ Marcie Wright (July 2012). "Team Bliss recognized for suicide prevention, intervention; numbers unmatched". Army.mil. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  14. ^ Barbara Van Dahlen (October 2012). "A Visit With General Dana Pittard". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  15. ^ Quil Lawrence (June 2013). "At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide". NPR. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  16. ^ Donna Miles (February 2013). "Army Post Sets Example in Curbing Suicides, Preventable Deaths". Armed Forces Press Service. Archived from the original on 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  17. ^ http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/06/22/dana-pittard-army-central-west-point/29125415/
  18. ^ Time article on Pittard
  19. ^ Kyrashia Levy, Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Fort Bliss: "Suicide prevention: warning signs and tipping points" Fort Bliss Bugle, p.7A accessdate=2017-04-27
  20. ^ For example, at Fort Jackson: Ms. Elyssa Vondra (Fort Jackson) (September 6, 2018) Post raises suicide prevention awareness
  21. ^ a b c Craig Whitlock Washington Post (21 June 2015)
  22. ^ a b El Paso Times, "Pittard to retire after 34 years in Army" accessdate=2016-03-28

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Major General John P. McLaren
Iraq Assistance Group
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Brigadier General James C. Yarbrough