FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2021) — A former Fort Leonard Wood commanding general was one of six Missourians recognized by the Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame board during their second-annual induction ceremony Friday in the Rotunda at the Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Mary Waggener accepted the award on behalf of her father, the late retired Maj. Gen. John G. “Jack” Waggener, who assumed the senior leadership position at Fort Leonard Wood from 1974 to 1976.
“My family and I are really honored and appreciate the fact that the Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame is giving my father this award and recognizing his contributions and the many years that he served,” she said.
Waggener recalled moving with her father to Fort Leonard Wood as a young teenager.
“When my father found out they had (horse) stables, he decided that I was going to take riding lessons,” she said. “He didn’t tell me until I got there, but it sounded fun to me.”
Acting as master of ceremonies for the event was Rep. Wayne Wallingford, who said the Hall of Fame “recognizes Missourians who serve in the military and then continue to contribute to their community, state and nation, in an exemplary manner.”
“Our inductees have excelled in the areas of civic and public service, professional dedication, veteran advocacy and volunteerism,” he added.
A Charleston, Missouri, native, Waggener graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1948, and had a 33-year career as an Army officer. He was a combat veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and was commanding officer of the 45th Engineering Group in Vietnam before his assignment at Fort Leonard Wood.
While serving as commanding general here, Waggener initiated the One Station Unit Training concept for combat engineers and established the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command model for quality control, basic combat training. He was responsible for the development and implementation of the new three-phase BCT program. New buildings completed and dedicated during Waggener’s tour include Abrams Theater and the Truman Education Center. The West Gate is named after him.
Waggener was also very active in retirement. He worked with Rotary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and at the Lake of the Ozarks and in the Association of the U.S. Army. He served as a member of the Osage Hospital Board for eight years and advised Rep. Ike Skelton on issues concerning base realignment and closures.
In addition to Waggener, the 2021 class inductees are: James Eddleman of Perryville, Missouri; John Gordon of Columbia, Missouri; Velma Bippen Jesse of St. Charles, Missouri; William Miller of Washington, Missouri; and James Tatum of Pineville, Missouri.
Nominations for next year’s induction class may be made by April 30, 2022, on the Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame website at https://mvhof.wordpress.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission