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Honor and Remember: a retired Major General serves in second professional career

By David Rogers. CONCORD, N.C. — After more than a half century of military training and leadership in the field, some actions are instinctive.

When U.S. Army Major General (Retired) Chuck Swannack observed a small platoon of some three dozen soldiers ambling by the front of the Media Center at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, he started barking out a drill sergeant-like cadence. It was a sweltering hot day but the unit was in full camouflage dress, complete with beret — and Swannack expected more, even if no longer an active U.S. Army officer.

“I hate seeing that (casualness),” he said.

In many respects, Swannack is a veteran’s veteran. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1971, he served more than 30 years in command and staff positions at every level from platoon to the Department of the Army.  Prior to retirement in 2006, he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, then subsequently the 18th Airborne Corps. and Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty). As he rose through the ranks, he took on significant leadership roles around the world, including in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Panama, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. At one point in his career, he was Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy within the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans in the U.S. Army headquarters. He is a graduate of Capstone and the National War College, as well as holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech.

It shows we love them, we salute them, we engage them and we enable them.

After his 2006 retirement, Swannack served as a consultant to several defense-related companies before becoming CEO of U.S. Logistics, serving from 2010-2013, which he helped guide from early stage company to a $50 million veteran logistics services company.

In early 2014, Swannack joined Speedway Motorsports as the executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities, a 501c(3) nonprofit with a mission of assisting underprivileged children become productive adults.

“I have been with Speedway Motorsports for 10 years,” Swannack explained to Blowing Rock News before the running of the Coca-Cola 600, one of NASCAR’s premier Cup Series races. “The first five was as executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities. The last five have been as Vice President of Veterans Affairs. Now we are trying to not only help children but veterans and their families. I run a program called, ‘Welcome Home Patriots.’ It shows that we love them, we salute them, we engage them and we enable them.”

Swannack is also involved with another nonprofit, the Patriot Military Family Foundation, which is focused on veterans health, their support and their families’ support.

“We get service dogs for them. We get homes for them. And we get them treatment for PTSD,” Swannack said of his work with PMFF.

For the Coca-Cola 600, Swannack procured a sponsor for 100 veterans and families, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a defense contractor that provides base camp services all around the world. The participating veterans are from Fort Liberty, the Seymour Johnson Air Base, the North Carolina National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps recruiters in the area.

“Today is all about honoring and remembering,” said Swannack. “We have 150 Gold Star families, whose loved ones gave their lives in service of this country. Hopefully, everyone will applaud that service and sacrifice in some way.”

Swannack added his hope that the veterans and their families have a unique and special experience by attending this NASCAR event.

“There are three things going on today (as part of the race),” he said. “One is recognizing the fallen with their names on the windshield of every driver. Second, the tires by Goodyear have an ‘honoring and remembering’ message on the sidewalls. And then, at the end of Stage 2, we are going to stop everything for one full minute of silence to honor and remember.”

 

 

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