MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
For some people, giving back is more than a holiday tradition. It’s a way of life.
Rod Montgomery, a logistician in Program Executive Officer Land Systems, has served his community for decades. He has leveraged his vast experiences to impart knowledge to family, friends and colleagues—helping them manage personal or professional challenges.
Montgomery credits four fundamental concepts for sparking his desire to support others: Reject Passivity, Accept Responsibility, Act Courageously and Invest Eternally.
“Those four principles allow me to see how I can help others in different situations,” he said.
These traits also shape Montgomery’s work ethic and personality. He is a popular employee at Marine Corps Systems Command, known for his affable personality and steadfast support for coworkers. He routinely greets people in passing, asks colleagues if they need help with tasks and talks to them about life. He also participates in various MCSC and community projects.
While he’s set to retire in December, his assistance to others will not.
“I’m sure I’ll still help out [at MCSC] from time to time,” said Montgomery. “I’ll always serve the community whenever I can.”
Montgomery has dedicated much of his life to the Marine Corps. He served 13 years as a communications officer in the Corps before transitioning to a federal civilian career. He began his career as a logistician with MCSC in 1989.
Within the command, Montgomery has supported Marines, civilians and contractors. In recent years, he has participated in MCSC’s mentorship program—where he offers advice and counseling to program participants—and speaks to new groups in MCSC’s Leadership at all Levels program.
“I enjoy sharing my experiences and learning more about people,” said Montgomery. “I like learning about what people are doing, where they come from, how they’ve managed their lives and how they’ve managed their competencies.”
He has leveraged his love for woodworking to create various wooden innovations for the command. In January 2000, MCSC asked Montgomery to design and build a frame for a historic bell. In just two weeks, he made the large, oak structure that now stands in MCSC’s main lobby. The command rings the bell during mess nights and other ceremonies.
“It was a ship bell that was once filled with water and used to baptize children,” said Montgomery. “It’s tradition for Marine Corps commands to have a bell.”
Montgomery also designs and builds personalized wood creations for departing personnel as well as the guest of honor at MCSC’s Birthday Ball each year. At this year’s Ball, he produced a wooden stand used to hold a miniature protective vest as a gift for retired Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
At his church, Montgomery teaches a men’s Biblical study group, contributes to a food pantry and supports the community with backpacks filled with school supplies. During the holidays, he and his church participate in the Appalachian Project, delivering clothes, gifts and toiletries to those in need.
Montgomery puts his faith first. He is a member of Gideon’s International, a Christian organization that distributes Bibles at schools, hotels and offices. He speaks at churches and is often asked to pray at various ceremonies and celebrations.
“I always try to project the joy in my life,” Montgomery said. “For me, it all begins with my Christian faith.”
Dignity, respect, professionalism
Montgomery’s colleagues rave about both his personal and professional generosities. Andy Rodgers, program manager for Light Tactical Vehicles at PEO LS, said much of the PEO workforce gravitate toward Montgomery for advice.
“They seek his mentorship within the acquisition arena as well as with issues impacting life events,” said Rodgers. “Integrity, judgement and initiative define his character.”
Jennifer Moore, product manager for the Legacy Light Tactical Vehicle program at PEO LS, enthusiastically emphasized the impact Montgomery has had on the command. She said Montgomery consistently provides quiet yet substantial support to those in need within and outside of MCSC.
“Rod builds his community with foresight, empathy and stewardship, with a focus on the growth and development of his colleagues,” said Moore. “He is brave, strong and wise beyond his years.”
Joseph Dunbar, Light Tactical Vehicle assistant program manager for Logistics at PEO LS, credits Montgomery for being a key part of his personal and professional growth. Dunbar said his wisdom and spirit will be missed.
“He has treated all with dignity, respect and professionalism,” said Dunbar. “The impact Rod has had on so many lives will truly live on in our organization far past his retirement.”
Given his military background, Montgomery is no stranger to goodbyes. But he concedes his retirement will mark a significant change in his life, considering his steadfast commitment to the command for several decades.
“In the military, you move every three years, but I’ve been here for 30 years,” said Montgomery. “I’ve invested a lot in people, and people have invested a lot in me. My retirement will be emotional for me.”
While Montgomery’s generosities will be missed by many, he is confident others within the command will pay it forward. As he explained, continuously helping others improve their lives can have a lasting effect on society.
“It’s good to talk to people and see how you can help them,” said Montgomery. “Invest in people so they can invest in others.”