While the retirement of a major general in the Air Force is a momentous occasion; that general having an Army 2-star sibling who can participate in the event also makes the occasion rare.
Rising to the rank of general officer is achieved by less than one percent of career military officers; two brothers achieving the rank in different branches can make those odds almost unfathomable.
The retirement of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric Vollmecke on Sep. 7, 2017, marked the end of a remarkable career that spanned nearly 36 years and included influencing and mentoring countless service members – his younger brother, Army Maj. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke among them.
“I am incredibly proud of my older brother and honored to have served our nation together,” said the younger Vollmecke, Program Executive Officer, for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors. “Eric is the steadfast example and pillar of selfless service for generations to appreciate; he is also an incredible father, role model, and Airman to look upon. I am humbled, proud, and duty committed to recognize him for his selfless service to our nation and Air Force.”
The elder Vollmecke started his military career in 1982 when he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina as a communications officer. In 1987 he transitioned to the West Virginia Air National Guard as a C-130 pilot at the 167th Airlift Wing. While in the WVANG, he served in several command positions at the squadron, wing, state, and major staff levels including Chief of Staff of the WVANG and Assistant Adjutant General and Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard.
He served in various tactical and operational roles in Panama, Desert Shield/Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, including commanding the 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2005.
During his comments, Maj. Gen. Kirk Vollmecke thanked his brother for his more than three decades of service.
“As a nation, we are eternally grateful to you. You are an example for future generations to come.”
As he left the service, retired Maj. Gen. Eric Vollmecke shared some advice and observations.
“People will give you the most valuable thing they have to offer and that’s the benefit of their experience,” he said. “And opportunity doesn’t knock on your timeline.”
By Brandon Pollachek, PEO IEW&S